Live Color Fully

today i am excited about everything.

The Big 3(0): Community

on February 10, 2014

A short series where I write about the three BIG things I’ve learned before 30, in honor of my new decade and turning the BIG 3-0. Which, by the way, happened recently, just in case we’re not friends in real life and you missed the 97 reminders I gave you. So. (Part I here.)

My 30th birthday was the very best day.

I know I say that pretty much 6 to 7 times a week, so it might be hard to take it seriously. But in between the army of pink and the singing telegram that spoke love and the princess pinata and the hours and hours of work that went into making the whole shindig go down, I looked around and realized (again and again): I am the luckiest.

It’s not easy to build community, to expose parts of your life and be willing to put in the time to live inconveniently with other humans. It’s especially not easy when you repeatedly move and start over, roughly every 2.5 years.

It matters, though, doesn’t it? This thing when you discern who stays close and who you only see once in awhile. This thing where…

you choose the people who are a part of your life.

This is something you learn a bit in high school, this whole “How To Choose Friends That Help You Make Good Choices Like Not Doing Drugs” thing. But in the rocky road that is less marshmallows and chocolate and more learning to live life, it becomes.. pretty damn important.

Important: they will be your family as you live far away from your family (more on that here).

Important: they are the ones who speak into your life.

Important: they will speak, and you will actually listen.

At 23, they are the ones who will finally give you the courage to walk away from that terrible guy. They will push you to trust what you hear in your spirit, the part that is truly you, and you will move. In Louisville, you will find the church again. You will feel what it is like to love your job.

There, your new community will tell you it’s scary that he gets so mad and yells. It’s not passion, they’ll claim, and they’re right. And maybe just make better choices about who you date. Sheesh. They will tell you that feminism doesn’t mean walking alone in an alley at night, unless you’d like to be a dead feminist. But it does mean speaking your mind, even at meetings where you are the youngest, even at meetings where you are the only one wearing color, even at meetings where you are the only female. They’re right (on all counts). And praise God, because you will need this later as you navigate the male-dominated ministry world.

And it’s not just the dating (failures). These are also the people who will tell you that when your Creator speaks, you should listen. And no, it’s not crazy to leave all this behind and leap into ministry. And later, they will help you walk through That Time Ministry Breaks Your Heart. You will want to walk away from your calling, but they will help you find the courage to stay.

They will tell you when you’re being stupid. And selfish. And… SIGH… impatient. Mostly that last one. Actually, always that last one.

They are gifts, these few. More than anything outside of the Words of Faith, they will communicate to you what you can’t see yourself.

We’re told: just listen to Self! Look within! Trust who you are! And those things are all nice and true often, right up until they’re not.

There will be times when you are so sure you’re right, and the thing is… you’re not. Sometimes, every so often, you get so buried in what you want that you can’t see reality. And during those times, which WILL happen, it will be crucial, crucial, crucial that you’ve chosen great people to be around you.

You know this now, because it happened to you at 23.

At 23, you almost drowned. Almost. You wanted something so bad that was so bad for you. And without your community, your life would look very different right now.

There will be people that come and go, but the few you choose to walk alongside of, the few you choose to listen to, those few… they are precious. They are life giving. They are Christ, to you.

We can’t do it alone. And (praise be), we’re not supposed to.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:9-10

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2 responses to “The Big 3(0): Community

  1. karen says:

    I love these reflections, friend. So glad to have you in my (distant) community. xo

  2. […] The Big 3(0): Community Feb […]

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