The Cost of Community

During my staff team’s first get-together before the new school year, I felt impassioned by the Spirit to share about how crucial unity would be for us as a team that year. Little did I know what that unity would cost, and who would need to pay up. Spoiler: it was me.  

A few weeks into fall launch, I had to initiate some hard conversations with a teammate. I felt hurt, unseen, and justified in the ways I believed I’d been wronged. The pain pushed me toward God. In the height of this, as I led a weekly worship set with a friend, I found myself singing these lyrics: “From the need to be understood… Deliver me, O God.” (“I Shall Not Want,” Audrey Assad.) 

Tears came as my heart connected to the reality of my desire to be understood by my teammate. The Holy Spirit showed me that Jesus Himself was not understood. Ephesians 4:2-3 came to mind: Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”   

Now, how was I supposed to challenge that? Was I really committed to this whole unity thing? I prayed that God would help me humble myself and that He would give me the courage to pursue unity and let go of both my offenses and my need to be understood. That was my cost.  

Our team continued to be tested in that arena, which made the school year a challenging and isolating season. I considered quitting, but I knew the Lord’s call on my life and also that relationships are messy. I’m glad I didn’t quit. Though that season was hard, I look back now and see how the Lord used it to bring me closer to Him and expose the pride and desires of my own heart. Because I can trust Him, I can also love people, even if—or when—there’s a cost.  

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