Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
The uncomfortableness starts in my chest. A feeling unclear, but decided. I am lonely, in a room of women who for years, I call friends.
I am convinced there is opposition to connection–opposition to vulnerability, a digging in and asking God to lead, to show what He has.
But rather than do that–seek God, we get in our own way to freedom. We get in the way of a life that, while not immune to superficiality, insists on playing it safe.
We talk about summer adventures rather than adventures with God. We share stories of the kids’ first days of school rather than how we are desperate for God to scoop us up and lead the way Home.
But we mask it well.
We look put together here. Our hair blow-dried and tousled, our toenails painted, our legs crossed and our children’s initials stamped in metal around our wrists or necks. We sit with cool drinks and talk about God but not to God. We discuss challenges as frustrations, but not really.
It is tiring.
I am tired.
We don’t really share the hidden secrets of the heart. Perhaps we don’t even know what the word “secret” is.
But we live it.
I am paralyzed by normalcy, by mundanity. The beautiful truth–our desperation for God–has escaped us. We have forgotten, in the concern for status quo, to fight the fight for one another’s hearts, really fight. We have forgotten how to push into the places where we have not allowed God to come, to ask for His eyes in order to see what we cannot.
We have forgotten to ask Him to give us words to interpret what we have forgotten how to believe: we are daughters of a King–a King that doesn’t play it safe, a King who wants us to believe in the potential for a world, a life, that is so much more than what we see. More than safety. More than rules. More than fear. More than the tyranny of culture and expectations and routine.
Doing these things would be uncomfortable. But necessary. And important. And good.
I love these women. But I need community that pushes me, makes me feel uncomfortable in its encouragement of me to love God more.
Community is not about pretending–about playing by the rules our culture worships: success, productivity. It is not about Christians faking a heart for God. Community that does this isolates–not only making us feel divided from one another in our attempt to not be vulnerable, but separate from our own hearts.
We are suffocating here.
Let us be willing to ask God, in relationship with other women, to come and reveal to us where we are playing it safe, how we are not trusting Him, how we are not living in faith and idolizing the things of this world rather than worshipping Him.
I need women around me who push me toward Him, who love me by showing me how I am falling. Because falling is not so bad when I am doing it into my Savior’s arms.
It is the most terrible, isolating, lonely and death-inducing thing to fall, however, when you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
So to be in this type of community? God, give us courage.
Let us pray this: God, let true community, with the women you bring into my life, start with me.
Are you in a community of women (and this can be a single friend) who pushes you, encourages you, emboldens you to live a life of transparency and truth–a life that chases after God? What step can you take today to be this kind of friend?
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com