How Community changed my walk with Christ

I put this on my instagram this morning but I have found that sometimes I write on this blog with the intentions of it being my job when the reason that I started all of this was so that I could have something to look back on with memories and the feelings that I had at the time. I love that about blogging, and I always say that I want to be more lifestyle but then I'll post about my life and my numbers will be way down and so I never do it! Ha! #candid 

So, basically today I just decided that I wanted to blog because I enjoy it and not worry about that and sometimes it feels nice to let go of all the numbers and just come back to what you love. 

I've always felt this really strong calling on my life in the faith, but I've never really known how to make that happen. I was always "too busy" and "couldn't find the right church" and if I found a church, I wasn't in the "clique" so I would just go on Sundays and do a devotion every blue moon and call it a day. I think that many times we get stuck in the bible belt where everyone is a "Christian" and living that out just essentially doesn't happen. You could ask just about anyone if they believed and they would tell you yes, but I just want so much more. Because I believe, I want it to pour out of me every day, and not just on Sundays. 

When we moved to NYC, we decided to join a small group and basically that was the best decision we ever made. I actually think it changed my life forever, because it really showed me the foundation of how I wanted my faith to look. When we live there, no one has family close. You are each others family. It was always a constant, and I think that was because of the values of my church and my small group leaders because even when we couldn't come, community group always happened. It didn't matter how many people or how few people, they were there meeting in each others homes. We talked for like an hour and then we read scripture and talked through different things. Many times we would talk about what was going on politically, and how we felt about that from a loving, compassionate Christ centered focus. Everyone was coming from different backgrounds so we disagreed A LOT, but it was in a loving way where we were able to discuss it. 

WAHHH I don't like looking at these! I miss them so much! haha!

WAHHH I don't like looking at these! I miss them so much! haha!

Friendships are just DIFFERENT when they are founded on Christ. I think that's why this is always encouraged in marriage, because the amount of love and compassion and loyalty just feels so much on a deeper level. Community group immediately became a place of vulnerability and trust. I could tell these people my deepest thoughts, and they loved me anyway. I didn't feel insecure or scared to share anything because I knew the love they had for me emulated that of Christ. {{I don't want to give off some vibe that they were perfect-people are always sinners and imperfect but it was just different than any other friendships I've ever had}} 

Even though the community started on Wednesdays in our homes, it extended throughout the week. These became my closest friends. These were the people I did everything with. We fed off one another, and we talked about Jesus all the time. When we founded our relationship on that, it wasn't awkward to talk about these things like it is with other people. As much as I don't want it to be awkward, bringing up how I view things through Christ is not something I bring up much to the general population. Call me a scaredy cat and I know I'll get comments that I need to be brave and all that, but the reality is that it's awkward to ask to pray before a meal with friends where this isn't your "thing" 

Lastly, the conversations that you have in a close knit community of believers would probably be laughed at by the outside world, but it's so life changing. You have questions that really challenge you to THINK about how you feel about something. I didn't just form my opinions on political topics based on how I grew up in Shelby, NC but from genuinely seeking scripture and what I thought led me to the cross. Another example of this is like this weekend, we had questions like "What place do you feel the most comfortable and at rest?" or "How do you think this scripture applies to your life?" and many times there is that awkward silence for a moment while everyone thinks. That's not "normal behavior" that people do on a Friday night. But, it's so integral in deciding who you are. You are able to bounce ideas off of one another and you learn so much about yourself. 

I say this all the time, but again this is personal opinions on my blog and how I feel that community has been life changing for me, so I hope to not offend anyone. I feel people get offended quite often, so I don't want to say that you can't have these kinds of close relationships not founded on Jesus. I'm just saying the depth of relationships that I have with these people is unmatched. I can bear hug my guy friends, and tell them I love them, and it's absolutely 100% appropriate. Tanner and his guy friends told each other they loved each other all the time and it wasn't awkward. 

When we moved back, we realized this was vital. So when we joined BRCC, we swan dived right into community. HAHA! They were probably like "Woah, who is this girl?" but we really just tried to start getting involved immediately because it has made all the difference in our lives and even extends into our marriage. We see such Godly marriage examples and talk about how we can better ours to emulate Christ and these couples. It's just so awesome. 

I hope this encourages you to never be scared to jump right in. The body at my church in Shelby had their core group before we came. They didn't need us per se. You have to invite yourself first to begin being invited. It might feel unnatural, but just do it! Go to the cookouts, go to the prayer groups, go to the pot luck dinners. They will pull you in and make you family pretty much at all churches, and it's SUCH an amazing feeling. 

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