I drove across town to meet with a group of women — something I hadn’t done in a year and a half. It felt new. It felt odd. It felt good. We talked. We prayed. We got to know each other. I left that meeting with a conformation of something I’ve always known.
We need each other.
But can we be real? While a pandemic and a difficult year makes us long for connection, we’ve also never been as uncertain as we are now about community.
Can I trust that person?
Did she really mean what she said on social media?
Is it safe?
I’d like to share something with you, sweet friend. I’ve struggled too. It’s an area of my heart that I hold up to God often. While I am finally feeling safe physically, my battle is in my heart. It’s been tempting to rebuild a wall around it that God demolished years ago.
But that isn’t God’s best for me. It’s not God’s best for you.
So this is where I am — on a precipice. A crossroads. And I choose to never take for granted what I find (and what I need) in healthy community. I don’t want the craziness of this past year — the hurtful words, the social media posts, the debates, the division — to rob me of seeing the goodness in people. I don’t want to fall into the trap of stereotyping or isolation. I don’t want to give a real enemy (John 10:10) a foothold, because he is toothless and a liar.
I also know that I will navigate this with wisdom. Not every community is healthy community, but that doesn’t mean that healthy community doesn’t exist. It does.
Scripture talks a lot about community.
I sat this morning and I read verse after verse. Community isn’t just something that is a nice idea. It’s what makes us strong.
We are asked to be patient with each other (1 Thessalonians 5:14). We are instructed to watch out for each other (Hebrews 10:24). We are told not to neglect meeting with each other (Hebrews 10:25) and reminded that there’s power in community as Jesus joins in with the two or three (Matthew 18:20).
I know we aren’t all at the same place, and that’s okay.
Maybe online community is what is filling that need for you right now. Perhaps you are taking baby steps back into connection. Perhaps you are running full on after it and it’s something you’ve been doing for a while. This only shows how different we are and how each of these can work, as we intentionally walk toward each other rather than away.
Next week I meet with another group that has just opened their doors. It was a random invitation yet one I know that is God sent. It’s a group of women wrapping around both Jesus and loving people tangibly in His name. I can’t wait to connect with them. I don’t know them, but I soon will.
I want to go back to one important truth.
There is power in the word together. Not just your own circle. But across the street, across the city, and across the world. It’s why I believe this has become such a battle ground. One of my favorite authors is C. S. Lewis. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, he portrays a conversation between a demonic being and his apprentice. The apprentice is learning how to deceive, destroy, and distract people from their mission of following and loving and being transformed by God (who Wormwood sees at the “enemy”).
Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
While the above conversation is fictional, I sense God reminding me of the power of obedience in this area. I sense Him asking me to knock down any wall that might dare to wrap around my heart. To keep my eyes on Him. To do what He’s called me to do, which is to show others His goodness and the power of living free. To not be distracted or discouraged by work-in-progress people because I am often work-in-progress too. And to not forsake the “gathering” together for that is where He shows up too.
So, how is God leading you in regard to community?
What will community look like for you in the coming days?
How will He show up as you seek and join in healthy community?
It won’t look the same for any of us, but understanding the power of it is where we grow stronger.
Hey, come join me.
I want you to seek face-to-face community as you feel it’s time, and I also want to let you know there’s a seat for you in my Together Community and Bible study group on Facebook.
We dig deep into topics of living free in our faith, family, and feelings. Four times a year we have a 3-week intensive Bible study. We laugh. We share pictures. We pray together. And right around the corner we are going to start connecting in some fun and deeper ways.
Two resources for you (at a discount)
I’m moving soon and I’m hosting a HUGE sale on two of my books so they don’t have to move with me.
The price includes shipping which means these books are about $10 each before shipping, a pretty significant discount AND I’D LOVE to personally autograph them to you or a friend.
We love to be invited. We want to be included. We long for more. Only Jesus can truly offer all of that to us–and he does. Suzie’s encouragement and insights give us what we need to say the most life-changing, soul-freeing yes our hearts will ever utter.”–Holley Gerth, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of You’re Already Amazing
Imagine that Jesus walks up to you, right now, and asks you to follow him. He doesn’t tell you where, and he doesn’t tell you what it will entail. He just asks you to come. When the original disciples said yes, they had no idea what that meant–only that Jesus was there to walk alongside them. Today that same invitation echoes across history, beckoning you to an adventure of unexpected destinations, to follow the One who promises to delight, surprise, and bring you deeper than you ever thought was possible.
So come. Join Suzanne Eller on this yearlong exploration of the book of Luke. Come walk with Jesus, listen to his words, and step into the harder place of faith, but not alone. The adventure awaits. Will you say yes?