How many times have you heard the terms, “tribe, squad, besties, group,” etc. in your life… or even today? American culture has this weird thing where we really promote being a part of something but we also really promote individualism. There is always this argument of, “Do I stay at home and bath and pretend I hate people or go out and be a part of a loud crowd?” Community versus self is an internal battle I have each and every day. Despite this and my introverted personality, I know that community is the best for me and frankly, everyone. There is always a time for being alone but even in your loneliness, make sure your community is just a quick text away.
Genesis 2:18 introduced the first time in the Bible that God references the high importance of community: “It is not good for the man to be alone.” “The man” in this sense is all of us (regardless of gender). While being alone is extremely beneficial for our relationship with ourselves and with God, it can also be toxic if we never fill it with other people. A lack of community means you have a lack of accountability. Depression, anxiety, and stress can all easily be heightened in the midst of being alone. We don’t understand any other “side” to a story, we lose empathy, and we dig ourselves into a dark space by refusing to take the time to see how others move through the Earth.
As an extremely introverted person, it is really easy for me to live in my room alone for weeks and not realize I haven’t gone out of my room the entire time. I freak before almost any social interaction and my first instinct is to figure out if there is any way to cancel. For years, I had no idea why I was like this. I would lock myself in my room and become depressed and feel lonely in the midst of a large crowd. And honestly, I still sometimes find myself like this. If I can look at my planner and see that I haven’t hung out with anyone but Jonathan or my family in more than three weeks, I realize the problem is I have not been involving myself with a community. Don’t get me wrong, family and a significant other are a community but you also need a “choice” community.
I found my “choice” community at my church. I know that right now, I have at least five girls I could text who would spend quality time with me and snap me out of my introverted tendencies. They give me reality checks and remind me who I am. They give me wisdom and another perspective on the things I am facing. It took me until I was almost 16 to have friends like this. It took me up until my 21st birthday to even be confident in the fact that these people enjoyed being around me too! It’s hard to find a community and people to remind you of the good things when the going gets tough, but it is one of the most important things you can do.
Finding people you can rely on can be difficult, but you just need to keep looking. Lean on your family if you don’t have that “choice” community. Lean on your sister, your brother, your mom, and your dad. No matter who it is, lean on someone outside of yourself who understands what God is doing for you and in you! Gain that new perspective and see yourself through the eyes of someone who can see your identity in Jesus. We all need a community, for it is simply not good for us to be alone.