Building A Village | A Culture’s Cry For Community

Squeals from my 4-year-old at the top of the stairs as her little legs caught up with her big girl plans yelled,

“Mommy I can’ttttt. I just can’t go any further alone, I need help.”

As I rushed to her aide, it made me think…

How many times have I tried to find strength all by myself?

How many times have I crashed and burned just like my little girl, feeling unable to go on?

Too many times to count.

But what bravery arose from her little soul as she pleaded for help from a safe place.

I find myself wondering, “Do I ask for help in those times?”

Ultimately, God should always be the first source we draw from when searching for strength.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-4

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.” -Isaiah 40:29

But what does God’s word say about community? About building a village through community?

The bottom line is, whether you are an introvert, extrovert, type 2 on the enneagram, or type 4, 5, 6, A, B, or C, we all need a village.

We all need a friend, a mentor, a pastor, a community. 

A safe place.

But where do we begin building a village if we’ve been uprooted from places that feel like home?

We all need people who will root for us. Stand with us on the sidelines, and pray for us for breakthrough in seasons of drought.

People who will push and encourage us to keep going even when we think we can’t. 

We need people who will challenge us in love, and not just overlook our shortcomings.

Someone to walk alongside us in our grief, and in our victories.

A village, a tribe, where inside that village is a place of vulnerability.

It’s the only way to know and be known.

Building a village through community is where our human fragility meets strength drawn from others as we recognize, not mask, our need for it.  

If we ever question the need for it, we can look to the Author of it, Jesus Himself.

Two friends laughing - Quote image - Community is where our human fragility finds strength drawn from others as we recognize our need for it.
Community is where our human fragility finds strength drawn from others as we recognize our need for it.

Jesus values community. 

During his darkest moments in the garden of Gethsemane He tells his closest friends, “my soul is sorrowful, even to death.” – Matthew 26:38.

But then he said, “remain here, stay with me and watch”

He doesn’t mask or hide the sorrow he feels in the garden, but instead, he invites his closest friends into his vulnerability.

He invites them into His dark moments to be there with Him through it.

So why are we hiding or masking our times of hardship or sorrow?

Why are culture and social media cultivating a spirit of perfectionism and “fake it till you make it?”

Why are there countless teens committing suicide without anyone close to them knowing there was a problem?

How is it that 1 in 4 women have had miscarriages, but is still one of the least discussed things in this journey of motherhood?

In a sex-saturated society, why aren’t more (Christian or not) men and women open with their temptation and struggle?

Those who have a strong sense of love, accountability, and belonging are those who are most vulnerable in the midst of trying seasons with the ones closest to them, their “village”.

This is one of the many reasons that building a village is so important.

Building a community doesn’t always start off as comfortable, nor is it painless or easy. But building a village, especially today, is necessary.

It’s having a willingness to say “I love you” first… the willingness to do something where there is no guarantees…to breathe through with them through the waiting grief, sorrow, infertility, the mundane, the messy, and the magical moments. 

It’s the willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.

A willingness that is fundamental for spiritual and relational growth.

Wherever you are today, ask your Heavenly Father to lead you into a place of vulnerability in building your village with people you trust, and people He sends into your path.

Here are a few practical ways to build your “village”

  1. Attend a local church and get involved/serve

  2. Meet your neighbors

  3. Join a group of people with a shared interest 

  4. Don’t overlook your own family

  5. Be someone else’s village

  6. Look outward, but evaluate inward

  7. Exercise in your community – join a gym, fitness program

  8. Honor your word to yourself and others

  9. Live a life of surrender to God’s plans above your own

  10. Surround yourself with people who challenge you not just people who will overlook your shortcomings 

When we understand the importance of vulnerability through community, why we need it and have practical steps on how to build it, we can intentionally and actively seek purposeful connection with others around us.

We can embrace a life of “me too” that helps ease the burden of losses in our homes, disappointment in our circumstances and elevate the joy of victories and gratitude in our gains.

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