It would be so much easier if no one disagreed with me.

If no one challenged me; if no one pushed my buttons.

Life would be restful and calmer if no one questioned what I thought or told me they thought something different. If people always saw my side, always shared my opinions, always got where I was coming from.

If only I never felt misunderstood or rubbed the wrong way.

If I felt confident and right all the time maybe I would sleep more.

Community can be uncomfortable.

It can chafe and irritate and misunderstand even our best intentions.

It will irk you and stretch you and some days you will be tempted to run and hide and whisper to yourself, “I’d be a great Christian if it weren’t for other people always messing it up.”

Community will chip away parts of ourselves that we’d grown fond of. It will rub up against our quirks and question our beliefs. It will wriggle down into our doubts and bring them to light.

Community will mold us, and we will feel it.

Because we’re supposed to.

As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.

Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy
.

The minute we open our doors, our laptops, our comment boxes, our homes, our churches, our celebrations to others we open our hearts wide up right along side. People will come in and traipse great, big, muddy, footprints all over the spaces and places we hold sacred.

And if we want real community we must sacrifice.

We must sacrifice the pretty perceptions we’ve built of others and ourselves. We must sacrifice our pedestals, our distance and our time. We must sacrifice our long lists of wants, demands, expectations. We must lay them down and be willing to have them completely upended. Crumpled. Re-arranged. Messed up.

If it is real, community is usually untidy.

If it is more than an exchange of “fine” community starts to get that lived in look. Crumbs and stray socks and leftovers you forgot to put back into the fridge. And sometimes it feels awkward until one afternoon you find that the messy is starting to blend into the comfortable. And in the midst of sacrificing what we wanted out of community we discover what God was planning for us.

This unwrapped beauty.

This ordinary wonder.

This pretzel of imperfect.

This sweet understanding.
::

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