Open and honest communication is the hallmark of any solid relationship.
How much (or how little) do you agree with that statement?
For many years, I didn’t understand what community was supposed to be. I grew up with two loving parents and a younger sister who, as far as anyone could tell, had a normal family life. We were involved in activities and sports, events with family and friends. All the regular stuff. What I realize now about my time as an adolescent and especially throughout my teen years is that healthy communication and honesty were seriously lacking in our house. I’m positive my parents didn’t teach me to think this way, but I grew up believing that if you shared your feelings you were weak. If you got hurt, you sucked it up and carried on and no one wanted to hear about it. You didn’t let anyone ‘in’ to your situation. You made it look real good on the surface and you kept everything hidden because you should be able to deal with everything on your own and with no outside help.
That is what culture tells our girls is normal…and it is right where the enemy wants us.
Isolated. Withdrawn. Bearing the weight of our burdens alone – because when we’re doing that, we are in our own heads, toiling and trying to problem solve on our own, we are missing one of our most important kingdom assignments: COMMUNITY.
God’s design for all of us is that we would be, work, and live together as ONE body. That we would endure and thrive in real community with one another.
As you get to know a little more about me, you’re going to hear about how real connection and being in community with others has been life-changing for me as a woman, wife, mom, entrepreneur and really every other hat God’s asked me to wear.
When we break down the word community (the English teacher in me can’t resist), we get the Latin prefix com which means “together” and the word unity which means “the quality or state of being one”
The root word is communis: common, public, shared by all
Now, the younger version of me hears the sound of that and is like, how fast can I run away? It was a point of pride for a long time for me to tell people “I’m not a sharer.” But the now me understands the value and the part we all get to play when we enter into a community of people who share a common bond…or belief…or goal.
There’s a beautiful picture of this in the book of Acts. After Jesus’ ascension, Peter addresses a crowd at Pentecost and a bit of time later heals a man who was lame for his entire life. The Sanhedrin don’t like the teaching or the miracle so they arrest Peter and John but they can’t really decide how to punish them so they let them go.
You can find the story in Acts chapter 4, verses 23-34 in a section called The Believers Pray and The Believers Share Their Possessions. Read it here.
What a picture of community that is at total odds with what culture tells our girls.
Culture says hoard the material and hide the mess, but when we do that we totally miss the rich relationships God designed us to enjoy.
Here are three of the most important lessons our girls can learn about building community.
Our girls are taught that full and total independence is what defines a strong, successful woman. The perspective of “I know everything. I don’t need anyone’s help. I can do it by myself.” But the truth is that allowing others to share in our grief, fear, anxiety, and worry breaks down the walls of superficiality and creates space for real human connection. In times of trial and suffering that bring tears, there are also sweet moments to laugh and dream together about how God will use this period of struggle to make something new.
“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.”
The world tells women of all ages that our perspectives are our own and they don’t need to change; people should just learn to deal with it. But, mamas, that is not God’s way.
God wants to put us in situations that will shift, and sometimes radically transform, our perspectives – ones that will change our mindsets from selfishness to sacrifice, from earth to eternity. Community is where God will use other people to change your perspective and, in the process, He will change you.
Your girl will get to see first-hand the growth you experience, and she will use it to set the expectation for how growth happens in her own life.
Community. It’s where we will plant seeds that bear good fruit in generations to come. I believe that none of this means anything if we can’t pass it on to the people who will carry forward our legacies long after we’re gone.
I think about the next generations of girls and what will awaken inside them when we, the grown-up girls of today, give them a model for genuine community and authentic living.
How we live will determine our little girls’ abilities and confidence to rise above a culture that beats them down, that tells them to keep it all hidden, that being vulnerable means you’re pathetic and that sharing means you’re weak.
Community is where we will show the next generation what real life looks like, where they will watch us wait together, cry with, pray with, and encourage each other until Jesus returns and sets everything right.
That’s my prayer for all of us: that we would be Acts 4 women . Women who know the things we have are not our own. Women who share everything we have and raise our daughters to do the same.
When it comes to letting people in, showing your daughter what real community looks like, what’s the biggest challenge you face? Let me know in the comments below.
I’m in your corner. Have an amazing day!
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If you’re looking for support to equip your daughter and develop her character, check out our FREE podcast series, Heroes For Her. We cover topics like insecurity, overcoming fear, embracing the unexpected, finding rest and so much more . . .
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