Have you ever met someone and instantly known they were special? Julene is one of those people in my life. I met her about 4 years ago and immediately knew there was an incredible depth to her. Julene is a dreamer who is passionately pursuing her God-given goals of seeing people transformed by the Word of God. I know you’ll enjoy her perspective on community!
Community used to be a foreign topic to me but now it’s one that I’m passionate about! Growing up I was painfully shy and hardly spoke to anyone except for a hand-full of friends. When I entered my college years and moved to another state, my introverted ways and social anxiety led to some lonely days. My heart yearned for fellowship and close community but I often felt like I didn’t really fit into the groups already in existence. While I deeply desired to find my tribe, I was in the midst of a wilderness season.
God used that dry, lonely time in my life to draw me into deeper intimacy with Him; the deep ache of loneliness I felt was filled by God’s presence. During this season, I discovered how He longs for His people to know Him better.
During my solitude I began seeing others as God did – as His unique children who reflect His qualities when they are aligned with Him. I discovered I am called to encourage and uplift people who feel like outcasts. So many of the people around us, especially those who don’t know God as their Father, may feel lonely and like misfits. I came to understand that I can be the encouragement they need to find where they belong.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
-Jesus in John 17:20-23 (NIV)
I value community because I have discovered just how powerful and life-changing it is. I spent so many of my adult years as a lone ranger, living out my dreams alone and being afraid to reach out to others. After I graduated from college and was navigating the “adult” world I continued to long for fellowship. I prayed often for friends and even created a list of different clubs to join and people to reach out to develop a connection with.
It wasn’t until God brought me to an awesome community at church that I found refreshing and my heart came alive. Since then, I’ve been able to overcome the feeling of isolation and loneliness I experienced for years. I also found that my dreams and purpose developed greatly because of the input and encouragement of the people God has placed around me. I’m so grateful for the family and purpose partners God has placed in my life. Iron sharpens iron and we are so much better together! There is power in numbers and as we collaborate and live out God’s dreams for our lives we can truly transform the world.
Whether it’s finding a group of people who share your passions or connecting to a small group at church, I encourage you to seek out people who make your life more vibrant. You’re not alone – if you feel that ache in your heart or a sense of isolation know that there is a tribe out there that you were made for. Step out and take a chance, take a class, introduce yourself to someone new at church, or find a meet-up or group that shares a common interest. God has community for you!
The stories since the beginning of time and throughout the Bible show us how God designed us to have deep fellowship with Him and also to grow in communion with other people. Plant yourself among people who may be different in their background and experiences but are of the same family and you’ll find yourself growing in ways you never imagined. When His body comes together, we are like a fragrant garden of unique, beautiful flowers, His family that displays His glory and love to the world.
Connect with Julene at dreamfleur.com
Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community