Craving Community - Guest Blog for Craving God Ministries
by Erin Olson on August 5th, 2016

CRAVING COMMUNITY

I love the old-fashioned candy hearts that are available on Valentine’s Day. Do you remember as a child when you would pick out just the right one, with the right word on it to give to a friend or someone you admired? If I were sitting with you right now and about to give you one of my candy hearts—a piece of my own heart, I would give you the one with the word “community” on it.
 
Every year, I ask God to give me a word for the year. Back in January, I wrote that God had been stirring the word “community” in my heart since the end of 2015. As is usually the case, we don’t always have the full picture from God when He lays something on our heart. We must act in faith and obedience as He chooses to reveal His plan to us.
 
I’ve been a seeker of community for most of my life. When I was younger, I thought community meant family and friends, but as I have grown older—and thankfully much wiser—I’ve realized those things sometimes make up community, but they are not the only things. If we seek to fill the community hole in our heart solely with people, we leave no room for Jesus. And if Jesus isn’t the first and primary resident, we’ll come up empty every time. It wasn’t until I realized this truth that my perspective on community changed. I still desire community, and in this crazy, busy and self-centered world, I sometimes feel like I am chasing the wind trying to find it.
 
The writer of Hebrews said, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24–25). The writer wasn’t just talking about attending church. He was talking about what it means to be in community with people who are like-hearted.
 
A few weeks ago, I attended a women’s conference put on by a local church. It took me a few minutes to settle in and realize that it was the first time in a long time that I had allowed myself the opportunity just to sit and soak. I’m so glad I gave myself this gift because I didn’t realize how much I needed it until the tears started gently streaming down my face.
 
For two days, I sat in the presence of people who I felt were peering directly into my heart and saying the words etched on my soul. My tears were like a release, and as much as I tried, I couldn’t stop or control them. Speaker after speaker, and worship set after worship set, could only be described as heaven-sent. I was sitting in a convention center with over nine thousand women and even though I felt like the words were spoken only to me, I could sense that other women were feeling the same way. I was sitting with an authentic community of women who desired the same heart things.
I can only describe this encounter as His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. It was a glimpse of what our future heaven will look like as we gather around the throne with all the like-hearted residents of heaven. We sometimes don’t realize how parched our souls are until the rain comes, and then we never want it to stop.
 

Community is about so much more than just acquiring friendships or being connected to an earthly family. It is first and foremost about our commitment to God. Life is too short and time is far too valuable to have friendships that are not Kingdom-purposed. We gain strength and encouragement from our community so we can be useful to serve Him. Our community goes to war with us to penetrate the forces of darkness in this world. And like an old friendship that picks right back up after time away, our community knows us because they know our heart. No matter where we are or how long we’ve been apart, we can always pick right back up.
 
My desperate plea is that God ushers me into a new season of community with Kingdom-purposed relationships. Jesus said, “where two or more are gathered, there I am with them” (Matthew 18:20). Jesus had community not just friendships, and so should we. I know I am not alone in this desire because I sat with thousands of women soaking up the rain like sponges. We crave authenticity and depth because He is authentic.
 
I pray you will take account of your community today. If you are parched and lonely, I pray God will guide you to just the right people. If you are in Kingdom community, I pray God will increase your reach for His glory.

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So blessed to write this guest blog, "Craving Community" for Craving God Ministries. It first appeared on http://cravinggod.com. Click HERE to learn more about the wonderful ladies behind Craving God.


Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Erin Olson, Sandalfeet, Sandalfeet Ministries, Craving God Ministries, Community


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