THE MISSING PIECE: HOW COMMUNITY CHANGED MY LIFE
I struggle with rebellion. That isn’t just past tense, it’s very much the present. I don’t think those tendencies to stray from Christ ever truly go away; the pull of the flesh will always be inside of us. But those rebellious desires can be pushed further and further from actually affecting our actions.
For years, I went my own way. I was going to church but only after I had been out partying all night Saturday. I was hooking up with my boyfriend and simultaneously praying for my friends to find Jesus. I thought I had it made, I had salvation but I also did what I wanted. I knew it wasn’t right but it was “just for a season”. That sounds ridiculous now but it’s what I told myself.
All those years I was hurting myself. I knew that God was good but I rejected His willingness to save me from the sins that I ran toward because, at the end of the day, I liked it. I thought that I knew what was best for my life. Plus, sin is fun! At least for a moment, but at the end of the day it cannot and does not deliver on its draw. The satisfaction that it provides is so temporary that we are always left broken, still aching for more. It’s addicting.
Once I hit rock bottom, I got the point. My heart was broken enough to finally realize that God was trying to save me from myself. I had damaged my intimacy with Him, and with men, beyond what I could repair on my own. For months I tried to remove the venom from my life. I continued going to church but I still couldn’t escape the draw of lust. I failed time and time again.
I didn’t think I needed anyone. I thought I knew how to overcome my tendencies to run from God. I thought empowerment came through independence but it actually comes from interdependence. If we want to overcome temptations that threaten not only our present but also the hope filled future Christ has for us we have to come to a place of needing not only Him but His followers. But I couldn’t see that at the time. I couldn’t see how desperate I was for open, honest and vulnerable community until I consistently entered into it. I finally realized that I couldn’t just rid myself of lust and shame; I had to figure out a way to overwhelm those desires with the reality of Jesus.
Finally, I got over my pride and reached out. What did I have to lose at that point? I got involved in a women’s small group at my church and it changed everything. All those years, all that I needed was community; it was the missing piece for me. I knew Jesus, I knew that He loved me but now I had real women, true friends who I could identify with. Instead of struggling on my own and being tempted by my friends to go over the edge I now had sisters that helped me step back from giving into those short sighted desires. They reminded me of the new creation I really was in Christ and kept me accountable.
Jesus saved me but these women opened my eyes to the abundant life that God was calling me to live. In fact, they continue to do so every single day. We can’t do it alone, even when we’re sure we can. So if you’re struggling today, maybe community is that last piece of your puzzle like it was for me. Reach out to some Jesus followers who inspire you, who see you and who extend God’s incredible grace to you.
I promise that your everyday life will never be the same!