Community is a weird thing. We are constantly surrounded by people, but usually have to work for community. It's not often handed to us, and if it is in certain seasons of life, we usually have to work to maintain it.
Community is hard but a necessity of life.
In high school, I struggled to find community. I switched school in hopes that I could develop and find a stronger community. Nothing stuck, and I was left feeling very lonely. I knew I wasn't alone, I was surrounded by people constantly, but I was so lonely.
I had a couple very close friends, who I wouldn't have been able to do life without. But that's the thing, having close friends doesn't always mean that you are in community.
Freshman year of college got a little better. I started going to The Inn which is a college ministry through UPC. I joined a small group. Had some pretty incredible roommates. But still felt lonely at times.
Then sophomore year came, and this is where I learned the most about community that I ever have. I joined the Vision 16 which is a Christian housing organization witch 100+ college students from the area living in it. I was dropped into a house of sixteen incredible women. I have never learned so much from the people around me.
So what is community?
I realized that it wasn't my quality of friends, it wasn't about the number of people around me. But it was about feeling home where I was. Freshman year, I had the best roommates I could have dreamed of, but I felt like an outsider at my school and had not found my place at The Inn. I found home in the moments when I would have conversation with people that I loved, but did not feel home everywhere I went.
I feel like this can easily be taken as I found community circumstantially. So if you aren't in the right circumstances, you can't find community.
Although it was so much easier to be in community when I was constantly surrounded by people who I loved and loved me, it was also a huge change in my heart.
I decided to find home wherever I was. I dove deeper into relationship with God. I made my interactions with people intentional. I spoke out about my faith and beliefs. I decided to stop letting the devil tell me that I didn't belong, and started believing that I walk and speak with authority wherever I go.
I made the world home, and the people in it, my community.
(Featured picture by Emma Studley)