on villages, health, and doing life

We had a big weekend, and along with it came some big stuff. Between work, the house, driving a teen to and from their job, prepping dessert for 20, the groundbreaking celebration at church, and home group, throw in a family crisis or two and you have my weekend in a nutshell. With my husband out of town for 10 days or so, fielding all this on my own was a huge stretch.

This past weekend made me ever so grateful for the people that my husband I have chosen to surround ourselves with; our village.  These people have seen us through much, and I for one would not want to do life without them.  They’ve been there for us when we had family crises, when we had parenting questions, when we needed someone to celebrate with us, to pray with us, and to generally be the village that we raise our children in.

“I don’t think one parent can raise a child. I don’t think two parents can raise a child. You really need the whole village.” Toni Morrison

I really don’t know how anyone can think that they can traverse this life without any support from anyone.  Not even Jesus did that, and if anyone could’ve done it, it would’ve been him.  Jesus surrounded himself with The 12 (think ministry staff), and of those he had some that were more trusted, who were closer, and he had friends apart from his ministry (Mary, Martha, & Lazarus).  But more than that, He came from a heavenly village. His life before coming to earth was also held within community, a close relationship with God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit.

When we are completely cut off from others it can have some serious psychological repercussions.  A extreme example of this are those that find themselves in solitary confinement within the prison system. “Prisoners who are isolated for prolonged periods of time have been known to experience depression, despair, anxiety, rage, claustrophobia, hallucinations, problems with impulse control, and/or an impaired ability to think, concentrate, or remember” (from Lonely Madness: The Effects of Solitary Confinement and Social Isolation on Mental and Emotional Health).

To a lesser degree, the same thing can happen to us when we cut ourselves off from our village. We were made in God’s image and, because of that, life in community is written within our very DNA.

“Resist the temptation to do life alone.” Bobbi Houston; I’ll have What She’s Having; 2008

Often we will let offense, hurt, or pride get in the way of doing life within a community.  We need to remember that we were created for relationship, for life within a village.  How else will we learn, grow, and become healthy? We need each other for correction, for celebration, for wisdom, for life.

So my friends, what are your thoughts on community?

Comments

  1. This beautifully describes a deep truth Michelle. I personally know this in my head, and though I am super blessed with many relationships, I struggle every day with my independent spirit. I often act like an orphan where I feel I need to do everything myself… I need to let God re-write that old story of mine growing up as a latch key kid, and let God and others in more…Thanks for sharing.

    • Justine, I would love to hear you write through some of that story … Let me know if you are interested. xo

      • I don’t know where I picked it up, but I have this strange assumption (maybe false belief?) that I can only write about something (I mean for public sharing… I vomit all over my journal no problemo) after I feel like I’ve seen growth and can look back on it more clearly to put words to it… like being able to write about how burnout abolished the “work idol” in my life. I could only write clearly about it after the fact. The “independence idol” is one of the “idols of the high places” in my heart that I haven’t been brave enough to give to God yet. I’m certainly aware that it’s there and drives almost all that I do, but I’m not sure I’m ready to really have God take it….But now you’ve put a bug in my ear to maybe try exploring it via writing. 😉

        • you are a brave soul Justine. I have my pom poms ready ready anytime you need a small bit of encouragement.

          • Thanks so much Michele! It’s amazing to be part of such a community of amazing, beautiful, courageous women. Thank you so much for your encouragement…It buoys my soul!

  2. Can I just say how proud I am of you? Seriously. Husband away. Family crises. Pavlova for 20. It blesses me so much that you are here doing this … Love it.

    As for community, I am leaning into community more and more and I am loving it … To be authentic about where we’re at and finding encouragement for exactly who we are. That’s beautiful and it changes how we are … And what we can accomplish, I think. It’s true for me.

  3. I love your blog…it is insightful and thought provoking. I too have recently realized that I need and am so grateful for the village that God has placed in my life: friends (you); family and church family, without these people have I would have to traverse the crevasses of life, and they are deep, a child with special needs, a childhood fraught with pain, abuse, neglect, abandonment that led to destructive relationships and a marriage that on a good day is difficult. God has set me free from ALL the pain of my childhood and all the difficulties since then and is walking beside me through the difficulties my husband and I are facing with our beautiful son, that also now has to traverse the crevasses and mountains of his life, but thank God for JOY, FREEDOM, COURAGE and HIS ever abundant GRACE. I will read on and keep up with your smooches from heaven. I love you.

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