When we pray according to God’s Word and inspired by the Holy Spirit, unfortunately, we don’t get to choose how He will answer them.
I spoke these words to a dear friend recently, as she shared with me about some really heartbreaking things she was currently walking through in her family and life. As the words spilled out of my mouth, I had to laugh at myself because in my naivete, some of the things I have prayed certainly did come to pass, but not in the way I envisioned or would have written the story!
Can you relate?
One such prayer was upon my move to Houston, almost 2 years ago, concerning community. For many years, I believed that it was okay to be by myself. I mean, I really do like hanging out with me! As an introvert, this made even more sense to me. While I thought community in the life of a believer was good, I didn’t believe it was necessary. Looking back, I see that this way of thinking was self-centered and self-righteous. It was also a door of opportunity for the enemy of pride to walk in and get quite cozy. When there are no other voices speaking into your life, to call you out and keep you from going down wrong roads, the enemy will have a field day keeping you blinded.
Proverbs 18:1, AMPC
He who willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment.
In the last few years, as God has been dealing with me about deep hurts, which have unknowingly affected my ability to trust others or open up to them, I have recognized the necessity of community. It is one of the many tools God uses to help us to grow, even for introverts like myself. We cannot and should not do life alone. It allows too much room for the enemy to set traps.
In my attempt to protect myself from more hurt (which is not really my job, but God’s), I was willfully choosing to separate and estrange myself from community, seeking it on my own terms. I was also unknowingly choosing to rob myself of wise and sound judgment. Yes, I had people I could go to for counsel and get a fresh, godly perspective. Yet, there is something to be said about community, where you are doing life with others, with face to face interactions regularly. This was a key characteristic of the early church in Acts 2, described in verses 42-47.
What’s interesting about community, and something I am learning, is that God gets to choose the community I am in, based on what season He has me in. Although a prayer I had prior to moving to Houston, it didn’t quite come packaged the way I expected it. God, however, in His infinite wisdom, knew that it was exactly what I needed! What started out as an informal invitation to a few ladies from my church to join me in my journey to being free from this label, blossomed into an incredible, authentic community that has filled my heart to the overflow, week after week. For this reason, I am so grateful that God is so much wiser and knows me better than me.
Perhaps you believe community is necessary and already have an awesome group of Christ followers around you with whom you are doing life together. For this, I applaud you sis!
However, if you are from the school of thought like me, where you either don’t believe community is necessary or would prefer to do life alone, I challenge you to seek God about this in prayer. In this season of waiting, I firmly believe community, even if formed unexpectedly, is critical and will prove to be beneficial to you in more ways than you could ever imagine!
I will leave you with this statement that I read a few months ago from my one of my devotionals. It spoke such volumes to me and it is my prayer for myself and for all those with who I am in community.
“We all need people in our lives who will tell us the truth, even when it’s hard to hear. We need those who will tell us when we are speaking without listening and walking in pride. And we need to be those people to our friends — willing to speak the truth, even at the risk of a relationship. Our aim is to love our friends and their relationship with God more than we love our own relationship with them. May God give us the grace to do so in His love and truth.”
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (AMPC)
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