When I was a kid, no one talked about community. It just was, and it was everywhere—in the fire lane where we’d meet to play football and at the pool where long summer days were spent keeping cool. We found community at school, church, Girl Scouts, youth group, softball practice, etc. And wherever I spent my day, I’d typically end it at home with my sister, mom, and dad.
They were the days before the Internet when we had only four TV channels (five if the weather was right and someone sat in just the right spot in the living room).
We didn’t talk about community, we lived it.
It’s interesting how finding community, something that grew organically in the past, has become a topic of discussion and a thing we feel the need to intentionally create. How is it that when life has never been fuller with constant communication and streams of information as close as our smart phones, we are lacking community?
Have we forgotten how to just “do life” with others?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m someone who thinks, talks, and prays about creating community as well. I understand how lonely and disconnected a person can feel in our times. For all the people in our lives, the strength and comfort of community can be elusive.
Lately, I’ve been thinking the solution might be closer than we think. Our families were our first communities, and they can continue to be a rich source of friendship, support, and personal growth.
Here are four things I’m learning to do to intentionally cultivate community in my family:
- Love the ones you’re with. It’s easy to take family for granted. God’s cure for the loneliness of the first man Adam was to give him family, and it’s still His design.
- Recognize and appreciate the sanctifying grace of family. Home is where faith gets tested and made strong and pure. I’ve often said, “If I can live out my faith within these four walls, I can live it anywhere.”
- Remember that your family is not a hindrance to your God-sized dream but a proving ground. Our dreams often feel just a little bigger than our time, resources, and opportunities. It’s their nature and what makes us stretch, grow, and trust even more than before. God uses our family circumstances as a sort of “boot-camp” to prepare us to fulfill His plans and our dreams.
- Enjoy. I have a sign in my house with this one word to remind me. Between the never-ending daily tasks and the sanctifying process, it’s easy to forget that the first community I dreamed of and prayed for has been given to me by a loving God to enjoy!
As I write this on my iPhone, we are driving our oldest son and his wife to the airport after an extended visit. The past couple weeks our house has been bursting at the seams and tomorrow it will be quiet as it returns to “family-light.” But whether full or few, I know the dearest and best community on this earth is my family.
They’re the ones who have formed me and my dreams, and they’re the ones who’ll be cheering the loudest when my God-sized dreams come true.
Shared by: Kim Hyland