For the past several weeks we have explored how vulnerability, honesty, accountability, and intentionality help create deep and meaningful relationships. While having one such relationship built on these elements is incredible, building a community of friends through the same concepts is where an even greater beauty lies. While this often doesn’t feel like what church is, this is what church was meant to be. Not the walls of the building in which we gather, but the people we live life with in raw, deep connection. Welcome to Part 5 of Building Healthy Relationships where Patrick and Justin explore the value of community.
Any deep and meaningful friendship provides each individual with remarkable love and support. But there is a danger in having only one such relationship. Whether it’s a spouse, a significant other, or a friend; one of the worst things we can do to a relationship is expect the other person to meet all our needs or convince ourselves we can meet all of theirs. The old adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” definitely applies to relationships. In fact, one of the greatest gifts we can give to those we hold dear is to help cultivate strong bonds with multiple individuals. This creates a healthy community where many intimate relationships can flourish. After all Jesus had twelve disciples, not one.
Each person in our lives possesses wisdom, experience, and perspective that differ from our own. They each have strengths and weaknesses that vary, which means they have different things to offer relationships. And this means there are times one individual has something another can’t offer, a friend has something a spouse can’t offer, or a spouse has something that no friend can provide. But no one person can offer everything, all the time. To expect this is remarkably unfair and sets our friends or our spouses up for guaranteed failure. Everything... all the time... an impossible standard for any human to meet.
Every Monday night, we meet with a group of couples on the patio of one of our homes. We laugh, break bread, enjoy wine, share life’s joys, and partner in life’s struggles. Each relationship on the patio is the result of varying degrees of vulnerability, honesty, accountability, and intentionality. This community, our community, our friends we live life with, are the lifeblood to so much of what we do. These men and women support us, they love us, they pray for us, the carry our burdens for us, they are there whenever we need them. Together, each of our joys are multiplied and our pain is divided. It’s through these types of relationships that we get to experience God’s love for us, his provision for us. Through these relationships, He provides us joy, strength, and support, and through these relationships, He draws us closer to him.
We were never meant to live in solitude. We were created to live in community with one another so we could know love and wouldn’t have to navigate the struggles of life on our own. Any relationship grounded in vulnerability, honesty, accountability, and intentionality is beautiful; but when a group of people living life together, embraces the same principles, each individual becomes capable of so much more.