Does Your Community Pass Inspection?
Before you sell a house, there are safety codes you must comply with in order to pass inspection. Similarly, when it comes to your personal community of friends and family, an inspection could reveal risks and weakness. It might take a little bit of DIY work, but there are repairs you can make to bring your individual community up to code:
1. RISK OF “HARD STAGE-OF-LIFE” – Depending on your age and circumstances, you may or may not have a lot of choice about the people you’re doing life with at this time.
REPAIR – When your surroundings limit you, this is a great time to be creative. You can forge certain new relationships or increase your focus on serving people you would otherwise miss if you were not in this situation. This is also an opportune time to make sure there are members of your personal community who are in a different season of life than you. Could it be that you need to think out of the box and step up your efforts? Or is this a time to simply practice contentment?
He who waters will also be watered himself. (Prov. 11:25b)
2. RISK OF “IMPROPER ESTABLISHMENT” – The way you’ve assembled your community may have been more out of natural convenience than intention.
REPAIR: Examine your community formation style. Do you know how to assemble a community made up of individuals that may not even know one another, or have you always expected your community to be a common group that does things together? Have you been comparing your community to another’s community rather than creating the community that is right for you? Is it time for the dynamic of your formed community to change in some way or another? Or is a greater appreciation needed for who you’ve been given so far?
The righteous should choose his friends carefully. (Prov. 12:26a)
3. RISK OF “UNHELPFUL EXPECTATIONS” – You may not realize the different roles each member of your community is supposed to play.
REPAIR: It is not required for every relationship in your community to be a give-and-take friendship, nor is it reasonable for you to have the same closeness with everyone. Do you need to be fair to those in your general community, realizing some people belong in the inner circle and others in outer circles? Is black-and-white thinking causing you to demand 100% trustworthiness from everyone, instead of being okay with varying degrees of closeness with the people in your community?
The merciful man does good for his own soul. (Prov. 11:17a)
4. RISK OF “INSUFFICIENT ACCOUNTABILITY” – There are times when it’s hard to be objective when it comes to seeing the impacts your community has on you.
REPAIR: A robust community includes at least one person who is allowed to tell you what you might not want to hear. And this is why it can be good to have community members who don’t all hang out together. Have you invited anyone to speak hard truths to you when needed?
Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Prov. 27:6a)
5. RISK OF “WRONG SIZE” – It’s possible you have an inappropriate number of people in your community.
REPAIR: Introverts can sometimes take things too far by having too small of a community, and extroverts can sometimes get carried away by having too large of a community. Or sometimes you need more or fewer friends than you did at another time of your life. There is also the danger of clinging so tightly to one person that you neglect others who are meant to be an intimate part of your community. When was the last time you took inventory?
Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. (Mark 3:7)
6. RISK OF “DISPROPORTION” – Balancing the friends-to-family ratio can be complicated.
REPAIR: Either during a quest for independence or in a season of remaining close to home, sometimes friends, or other times family can be overlooked. Is there someone you need to reconnect with at this time?
That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. (2 Tim. 1:14)
7. RISK OF “PRAYERLESSNESS” – It’s common to neglect communication with God about the state of your community.
REPAIR: The well-being of your particular community needs prayer as much as anything else. How willing are you to ask the Lord to lead the inspection of your community? Will you trust that He knows better than you who should be in your community and what each person’s involvement should look like? Since community is a crucial component of God’s design, certainly He cares about the details of yours.
Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (Ps. 34:10b)