We all need community to truly grow from dysfunction and unhealth. Healthy correction can’t help without authentic community, because true friends will point out the dysfunction you’ve become blind to.
In the last episode of season six, Heather and Jamie talk about growth in community, giving and receiving correction, and finding joy in unexpected places.
Authentic community is not a luxury, but a necessity in your personal growth journey. In some ways, it’s easier than ever to find like-minded people, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier to foster real and authentic relationship. The digital world that is supposed to connect you with people often leaves you feeling lonelier than ever. Why?
There’s no substitute for real, in-person relationship. When you enter in to vulnerable and authentic relationship with someone, you’re able to give and receive healthy correction, as well as encouragement and support – all of which are imperative if you truly want to grow.
The first step to solving a problem is identifying it, but what if you can’t identify it on your own? When dysfunctional patterns persist in your life, they become your “normal,” which is why it’s easy to become blind to them.
When you’re open and vulnerable in relationship, you open yourself up to new perspectives and insights. But it’s so important that the people you allow into your innermost circle have perspectives that are trustworthy.
Studies show that friendships “significantly influence some of our most important behaviors.” So, make sure the people you’re building community with have patterns and behaviors that are positive and healthy. When you’re around people with healthy habits, you’re more likely to build them as well.
Part of being in true community with someone is showing up even in difficult circumstances. This includes being honest when you’ve noticed something of concern. And in turn, being willing to listen when they do the same for you.
It takes a lot of time to build the sort of trust it takes to be able to give or receive healthy correction. It’s easy to quickly become defensive, which is why there first has to be a foundation of love and trust–a deep knowledge that you have each other’s best interest in mind. True friends will tell you what you need to hear and remind you who you are in Christ.
We’re called to be open to this kind godly of instruction. Proverbs 19:20-21 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
It’s so overwhelming to try to work out everything on your own. There are endless self-help resources: counseling, therapy, books . . . these are all good things, but knowledge in itself won’t help you grow.
Counseling is an incredible tool, but talking about a problem with a counselor won’t cause you to actually break bad habits. You gave to be willing to put in the work to practice what you’re learning, and this requires support from community.
The Bible says there’s safety in a multitude of counselors: “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
The beauty of being a Christ-follower is you have a guide on the inside that’s going to bring things to your attention. The Spirit will show you specific areas to work on and give you the capacity to do it, and authentic community will encourage and support you.
Building community isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it.
As you go throughout the rest of this season, get outside of your comfort zone. Chances are, there are people around you searching for genuine friendship as well.
Be bold. Invite people in. We promise, on the other side of authentic community is immeasurable joy.
If you’re looking for a community, we would love to help you find it.
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Check out our episode on making friends: