Sunday 2 March 2014

Value of Community

"No man is an island" (John Donne) are immortal words & so very true. We are made for relationship, wired for interaction with others.

Whether it's family, work, school, sporting club, craft group, Scouts/Guides or faith community, we can all be encouraged & supported by others & in turn, encourage & support others.

Yes, community can be messy, people can rub us up the wrong way & even hurt us, but growing together into a strong, supportive community is so very important especially when travelling through challenging seasons. I find life in community enriches my life & expands my world.

Some 'communities' may be for a short season or for a specific purpose only, but we need the support, encouragement & strength from doing life with others. Relationships take work but I have found increasingly over the past few years that the time & effort is so very worth it.

It can be so easy to just hit the remote to open the garage door, drive in & head inside without connecting with our immediate neighbours. Maybe it's been a hard day or you have calls to make but life is so enriched when taking the time to head outside, connect & chat with neighbours. I have the best neighbours, some days it's just a quick wave, or supporting the kids opposite by buying chocolates for the school fundraiser (a legitimate reason for chocolate) or going to swimming lessons when the mum is sick so the toddler doesn't miss out on her time in the pool. My immediate neighbours & I have built relationship over the years & trust each other with spare keys for those dreaded lock out moments, collect mail when travelling or in my case, they have put out the garbage bins every week since breaking my ankle. 
If you, like me, prefer to be a 'doer' (is that a word? - one that 'does', helps others, gets involved) or live on your own & are independent,  it can be very difficult to accept help from others. But I have learnt to let others help - they feel valued, want to bless & quite simply, if they want to help - let them. From cleaning, shopping, meals, washing or visits with coffee I have found these times an encouragement as we share & chat.

 Outside my family, my faith community is my most crucial. Apart from Sunday teaching, worship & fellowship, I attend a weekly bible study where in a more intimate setting can share, be encouraged & accepted by a wonderful group of wise ladies. A closer group also pray for me, cheer me on, take time to sit & listen in those not so great moments & are prepared to challenge me to grow & be the best me I have been created to be.

Over the past few years, I have been delighted that some of the younger women from church want to learn to sew. It's fun watching them gain confidence, plan the next project before finishing the first one & really blessed me far more than I've been able to encourage them.
I have also been abundantly blessed in so many ways from others in our church- one of the young adults  wanting a career in graphic design helped me design my blog header. 
Wen from What's Mummy Up To? has inspired me & spent time helping to set up my blog.
Sam from Old Green Pastures is a constant encourager who speaks possibility over my life. 
Spending time with friends over a casual meal (who needs hours of stressful preparation, take away is actually OK - it's all about the conversation anyway!) in between busy schedules are treasured moments. Last night I spent precious time with friends who live 2 hours away but took the time to come visit for a couple of hours. 

Can I encourage you to "do community" with others? You will find it is worth it.
I'd love to hear your 'community' stories.

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