Community, Not Perfection
Yesterday was not a good day. It started and ended with a crying baby. Somewhere in the middle I yelled at my three old to “fix her face” because she was pouting in public. Apparently, it is acceptable for mamas to grow horns and hiss angrily in public but not for little ones to have pouty faces. And, just to add to the irony of it all, I’ve been teaching my eldest my quick, slow, slow mantra. Grace—I am so desperate for it, y’all.
“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” —Romans 7:19.
There is a lot of talk these days about niches and messages. I got an email the other day advertising a book that could help me become whoever I wanted to be online. Isn’t that the problem? A bunch of people trying to create online personas—what good is that?
How can a woman attend a church or social event with a hundred other women and feel completely alone? Why would a person with 2,000 followers on Twitter send me an email saying that she has no one to talk to about her pain? No one. Oh, they will thank her for sharing their blog posts. They will “favorite” her funny tweet. At the end of the day, however, when she’s lonely and crying in the shower—where are they?
“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up” —1 Thessalonians 5:11.
We, in the body of Christ, are to encourage one another and build each other up. That is our job as sisters in Christ. But we have it all confused. We think we can’t ask for help. People might stop reading our stuff if they find out what a mess we are, right? Wrong. People crave honesty and transparency.
Maybe you think you don’t have anything to offer. Wrong, again. With Christ, you have everything to offer them. That is the encouragement that Paul was referring to in 1 Thessalonians. We are children of the day, of the light—we are His. And so we have hope and we have love and we have faith. That is what we are to encourage each other with. That is how we build each other up.
I may not be in your shoes, but I know what it means to lack a little faith. So, I can encourage you in that. You may not fully understand the depths of my pain, but I bet you know what it means to lose hope. So, you can build me up. All of us know what it feels like to have loved and lost. We all have the ability and the means to love each other well.
The thing is, however, that encouragement happens in community. Paul did not say for everyone to give themselves a big hug. He didn’t say to put on your happy face or, as I like to say, your big girl pants and get on with it. He said to encourage each other. I, for one, totally believe that can happen online. Now, it doesn’t replace face to face friendships. Fellowship with a local body of believers is so very important. However, I believe God uses this space for His glory. True relationships and bonds are formed among sisters walking similar paths.
This is a safe place where we can admit to serving peanut butter sandwiches for supper and have someone say back, “tomorrow is another day.” We can share our broken hearts and be reminded of the hope in Him. We can tell of our loneliness and have a sweet sister miles away remind us that we are loved.
There are no perfect people—no matter how good they look online. But, there is a perfect Savior. Because of Him, we have some encouragement to offer. So, let’s do it. We need community, not perfection.
Written by Stacy Edwards
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