There are some people you meet who are live-giving, Thuy-An (pronounced twee-ann) is one of those people! She is kind and compassionate and is a fierce lover of people. She is passionate about creating spaces where people feel seen, loved, and encouraged and she consistently challenges me to create safe spaces for others as well. I know you’ll enjoy her insights into community!
There’s an old photograph of me as a child sitting on the ground in a circle of stuffed animals with party hats. I was wearing a tea dress and there were plates set out for all my “friends.” Stumbling upon it was a humorous surprise, but as I thought on my childhood, one word came to mind: lonely.
Loneliness is a stranger to no one. Even as I have grown older and have cultivated life-giving friendships, I still battle this old foe. But I am eternally grateful for is the community He has orchestrated in essentially every aspect of my life that tethers me to His heart, no matter the season.
One aspect of community God has shown me that has impacted me the most is this:
Community is a mirror.
It exposes our own wrong behavior and reveals the gold woven within us.
I will humbly admit that I have looked at friends’ actions and thought along the lines of “Why would they even think to act that way?” or “If they paid more attention, they wouldn’t do that.” I have learned that my pointing fingers reveals more about me than the other person. My judgments stir discomfort in me because there are behaviors of my own that need attention. Community reveals the things I need to change.
On the flip side, community is the mirror that reveals the gold in us because other people don’t see us exactly the way we see ourselves. We are blinded by our biases and insecurities. Our vision of who we are is skewed. We are often way too hard on ourselves, but our friends — the ones who choose to love us, flaws and all, will see what is good and make sure we can see it too.
I think this all boils down to grace. If the mirror reveals a change we need to make, we need to give ourselves grace and others need to give us grace during the process. If the mirror is revealing the gold within us, we need to give ourselves grace. When we see something in someone else, we need to graciously submit those things to them. Community requires grace to give to others and grace to receive for ourselves because we are all imperfect, but we are growing. And it’s infinitely better and more fun when we’re doing it together.
I pray we all experience the community God longs for us to be in and that together, we can share our stories and experience God and people in a way we would never be able to alone.
You can connect with Thuy-An here.
Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community