The heart of the community is you.
by Karina Allen
Over the last year and a half, we can all look back and admit that we’ve been impacted by all manner of things. The chaotic state of the world and widespread sickness have impacted us.
If we’re honest, it’s all taken a toll on us in one way or another. In the height of the pandemic, I felt beat down by isolation, pain in friendship, and insecurity. I was anxious and depressed and teetering on the edge of hopelessness.
My heart beats for community — but at the time, that was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to be alone in my aloneness. I wanted to throw the biggest pity party. I wanted to be miserable. And the enemy would be thrilled with that. He wanted me isolated and feeling defeated. He almost won. I almost gave up.
Several friends, including my pastor’s wife, reached out to me. They called me and texted me and took me out for coffee. They asked me good questions and gave me needed encouragement. They prayed for me and with me. And we had hard conversations about expectations and offense.
This was good done to me. It was God’s good through His body. I’ve never experienced His love in this way before. I felt seen, loved, valued, and chosen. Each person reminded me how I was needed as a member of the body of Christ. They stressed to me how much I was missing with my absence.
My dear friend, Kayla, looked genuinely into my eyes over lunch and told me she needed me and that I needed her. She reminded me that God created us for each other. I had something she needed. She had something I needed. She told me I was important and loved. If I didn’t show up, the body would be incomplete.
“If we don’t respond to the Lord individually, we can’t respond to Him as a church,” she said.
It was my choice whether or not to respond to the Lord. It was my choice whether or not to show up and be a part of what He was doing in and through my church.
My life has meaning and purpose. Sometimes I forget. Your life has meaning and purpose. Sometimes you forget. We all have seasons when we need a gentle reminder.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul encouraged the church in Thessalonica to live mindfully and intentionally in light of the Lord’s return: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.”
Our world is hurting and lost and confused. It’s full of doubt, fear, worry, and utter sadness. We, as daughters and sons of God, have been ordained into the ministry of reconciliation. That is the impact we’re called to have in this world. We’re filled with His Spirit and therefore filled with all of His power. That power gives us the capacity to both know Jesus and to make Him known. That power gives us strength, courage, and boldness.
The world is desperately in need of hope and encouragement. We’ve all been torn down by challenges. But if we commit to building up one another, we will bear fruit that will make a lasting impact to those around us.
Since the fall of man, God’s desire has been to reconcile us back to fellowship with Himself. We do that by extending His love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy to those in the faith, and to those outside of it.
Karina Allen is devoted to helping women live out their unique calling and building authentic community through practical application of Scripture in an approachable, winsome manner. She believes we were created with purpose, on purpose, and are essential to the body of Christ and the building of God’s kingdom.
This article originally appeared in HomeLife magazine (July 2021). For more articles like this, subscribe to HomeLife.