Community Is

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Art by Scott Erickson

“May my limitations be doorways to partnership and relationship rather than reasons to feel shame and isolation.” – Justin McRoberts

I’ve recently developed a new understanding of what community is, or at least a new understanding of what I desire from community at this point in my life. Because it does look different than the community I needed in my early 20s. My desire to be known looks different.

As I dive into my 30s, I’m suddenly certain that I don’t know everything. The invincibility of my youth has abandoned me and left me floating in a river of my own shortcomings wondering how to get to shore.

Community.

I’ve always been a big believer of community. I once heard a speaker talk about how God designed us to live in community and how our community acts as a mirror to show us our own reflection. I loved that imagery, but at the time community meant people to go to happy hour and watch movies with. I was at an age where I wanted to have true adventures on my own. I wanted to contemplate on my own, and make my own choices – good or bad.

There is nothing wrong with that, but now I have a deep desire to nurture relations that will help me grow further than I could possibly grow on my own. Now I’m ready to learn. Now I’m ready to be known. I need more than a social circle.

Community is reciprocal.

That is why Food for the Hungry partners with churches, leaders, and families. We all need support to grow. We can only reach our God-given potential through the support, encouragement and accountability of a community. This blog is full of stories about how changing a single life at a time changed an entire community.

Community is not using people to fill your own need to be recognized.

Sometimes it’s easy to think of people in poverty as needing me, and they do; but they need my partnership, not just my money and my empathy. They need me to be in their community and for them to be mine. If we start looking at the people we help as equals in our relationships, we can also begin to learn from them giving them the dignity they deserve in what really should be a transformative relationship for both people.

Community is transformative.