“Listen to me now, I need to let you know — you don’t have to go it alone.“
I remember exactly where I was sitting when I first heard the lyrics to U2’s song “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.” In the middle of one of my life’s biggest trials, Bono’s words struck a chord with what my teenage heart had been experiencing. And in that moment, God used a song to confirm the truth of Ecclesiastes 4:12: A chord of three strands is not quickly broken.
From that day on, I made a vow to never try to do life on my own. As my friend, Niki Hardy, describes in her book Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart, I slowly learned how to dance in community — how to step in to those around you and step out and find your “I Get It” tribe.
Thriving Is a Team Sport
In the past, when I tried fighting battles on my own, the enemy used every weapon in his arsenal to make me feel lonely, rejected and ashamed. But something beautiful happened when I began to open up to people around me.
The more I let people in to what I was experiencing, the more I realized that I had no reason to feel alone, rejected or ashamed, because many of them were going through similar struggles. But it wasn’t just teenagers who could relate to what I was going through. Even my high school youth pastor and small group leader were kind and brave enough to share stories of how they’d overcome similar trials.
The Bible says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (see Revelation 12:11), and I firmly believe one of the most powerful things we can experience when we learn to embrace community is the power of the testimony.
To this day, no matter what trial comes my way, testimonies allow the faith that’s already on the inside of me to rise until I’m filled to overflowing with holy confidence. As I press into the truth of what God’s Word says about my situation, the Holy Spirit uses the testimonies of those I’m in community to encourage me to keep believing and trusting — even if I haven’t seen the promise fulfilled or the situation resolved in the natural just yet.
Don’t be Afraid
In our overstuffed, microwave, Netflix social media-driven culture, it’s tempting to just stay at home and keep to ourselves. This is dangerous.
We were never meant to do life alone. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about the She Found Joy events I’m a part of. I believe in the value and power of women getting together. I have reaped the benefits of sowing into community more times than I can count, and my life is richer and better because of that.
If you’re afraid of stepping out into community, let me ask you this: What do you have to lose? OK, did you think of what you might have to lose? Now I want you to compare that to all that you have to gain: wisdom, joy, laughter, friendship, encouragement, hope —the list goes on and on.
As Niki so beautifully writes in Breathe Again, “Made in the image of God who is community, we will always long for the connection and fullness it brings; but when life is painful and finding community seems the hardest, we only taste a fraction of it if we turn away in self-protection.”
Let’s all pray the prayer Niki includes at the end of Chapter 6 together now: Oh dear Lord, thank you for being community and for not creating me to live alone. Thank you for the DNA running deep within me that thrives on relationships, shared experiences, and love. I’m sorry for the times I’ve rejected your hands and feet who have come to hold me and walk with me. Forgive my arrogance and selfishness. Forgive my fear and trembling. Keeping my head above water is lonely, and I know I can’t thrive alone. I need community, I want community, but community can be scary and intimidating, Lord.
Show me who my tribe is and help me step in through the doors of the community you have prepared for me. When I’m closed off to people who want to love me, open my heart, and when I avoid people because of my mess and pain, give me courage to embrace them. As I step out to find my “I get it” community, give me eyes to see where you’re leading, strength to be myself, and openness to receive all you have for me.
Lord, thank you for not leaving me alone, for being with me and providing friends, family, and community. In your precious name, the name that by its nature is community—Three in One. Amen.
These are my thoughts on Chapter 6 of Niki’s book. Download a free chapter of the book on Niki’s website.