A few months ago, I was in Africa with CARE for AIDS and participated in client home visits. For many individuals in Kenya affected by HIV, one of the worst parts of living with the disease is being ostracized from your community. This shame and separation from friends, neighbors, and family creates a void in their lives and prevents experiencing the connections that are essential to a fulfilling life.
During one visit inside a gentleman’s home, he explained to the group that in his entire adult life, he can only remember two people ever visiting him: the landlord and the debt collector. He desired community so deeply, but the only people who would visit him were ones who needed his money.
Although our circumstances may not be nearly as dire, we all desire community. Even the most introverted among us seeks connection with those arounds us. Constant contact through our phones and social media might make us feel more connected to more people than ever before. The reality is, we often lack the community that we truly desire and need.
So, what does real community look like?
- Real community, when possible, is face to face, not virtual. These relationships spring out of intentionality and are not centered on comfort or convenience. They require creating room in your schedule for personal and present interactions with your friends and family.
- Real community is authentic and exists beyond surface-level conversations. These relationships thrive in openness and honesty and leave the small talk at the door. They force you to allow people to see who really are, so they can help you become who you want to be.
- Real community is responsive and leads to action. These relationships spur on intentional service and generosity. When one friends sees a need, they respond to it and do not seek anything in return.
If you’re reading this and you desire to have community with others, here’s a bold challenge: Instead of sitting around and waiting for community to come to you, be intentional and pursue it. Go. Connect with others. Create community.
Instead of sitting around and waiting for community to come to you, be intentional and pursue it. @KevinPaulScott
Zig Ziglar said it this way: “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
This week, find an opportunity to create community.
Talk to the neighbor you’ve never met.
Ask your new coworker out to lunch.
Reach out to the family member that moved away and feels distant.
Work to create real community with the people around you and thrive in intentional relationships.