A Big Obstacle to Real Community
Our family values living in community with others. I didn’t say we’re perfect at it, or that we are doing this as deeply as we’d like to. There are lots of things that get in the way of living deeply in community with others–selfishness, busyness, fear of what others think, or just the nerves of walking across the street to talk to your neighbor. But for me (and I think for many others) there is something else that is a bigger obstacle than any of these.
When we moved into our new house one of the first things we did was bake cookies and take them to our neighbors to introduce ourselves. When people at our church have babies or are sick we offer to take them meals or watch their kids for a while. When people came over to help with all the projects that came with our new house I needed to have an abundance of food and drink for them, and make sure they knew I was in their debt.
Yes, one of the biggest obstacles I face in pursuing deep and real community is receiving from others. I like giving for the most part. It is gratifying to know that I’m able to help someone else with something they need–whether it’s big or small. But when it comes to receiving that help from others I am pretty dreadful.
Yet the deep community I desire requires being interdependent. When I receive help but keep a register of what I owe, I am still independent. When I truly need something but won’t ask, I am being interdependent. I’m not sure how I will change this–I am deeply fearful of inconveniencing others (and I’m sure there’s some pride mixed in as well). But I know I need to change. I know I need to learn to receive help from others willingly. I value community too much not to.