Community requires Courage

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:14

I’m the kind of person who just gets life done. If there’s a more efficient way to get things done, I’m on it. Never make more than one trip if you can carry all the bags at once. I will cut off circulation in my arms lining the bags up to both shoulders. I go on and on like this until life breaks – We weren’t designed to live life on our own, to get life done by ourselves. We were made for community.

I love the image of the shepherd wrapping the lamb with the broken leg around his shoulders. The view from up here is bigger. I can see further into the distance and onto my little, once efficiently self-managed world below. There is a sweet sharing of the same air, cadence of breath and heartbeat. I can’t hide my tears. You feel every weeping contraction on your neck. This is community. This is the inescapable sharing that binds hearts together. I know my Shepherd and my Shepherd knows me. How do I do this with His people?

I love people. I enjoy people from all walks of life. I love your stories. I love hearing about your struggles and journeying into the depths of your heart. I love my big beautiful community of friends. I love to dream with you. I’m quick to cry with you. I will cheer you to that finish line. I would never burden you to carry my bags, but I’m ready to carry all your bags with you. This is community, right?

“Maybe – communion can only happen when not only our strong parts are broken and given, but when our broken parts are also given. Maybe communion happens not only when we’re broken and given – but when we give each other our brokenness” writes Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way.

Maybe – I don’t know community at all.

A college friend once shared an observation that shook me to the core. She said, “Everyone always saw you as person who didn’t need other people. More people would’ve been closer to you if they thought you needed them.”

Creating community with the people I love means I must be willing to put the bags down, let you carry a few and soak up the trips back and forth between your heart and mine. It’s ok to let you hold my hurts, my shame, my disappointments, my hopes close to your neck, that place of inescapable sharing that binds hearts together.

Do I have the courage to be vulnerable this holiday season?

I’m suddenly stunned by how self-centered this question truly is.

If the Shepherd had not allowed His body to be broken for us, there would be no holiday to celebrate. There would be no Emmanuel, no God with us, no community.

How can we do community differently this Christmas?

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