Two of my favorite television shows, The Big Bang Theory and Friends, are based around characters who live together, spend tons of time together, and experience life together. They live together in community. They share each others happiness, frustrations, sorrows, and joy. They have each others backs. They offer each other support. I love it. I love watching the interactions, the dynamic that they’ve created in their own community. I love the intentionality.
I have never lived completely on my own. I’m not sure if I could do it, and I don’t know if I would like. Honestly, I can’t even imagine what it would look like. Actually, that isn’t true. My roommate in Vegas started dating a wonderful guy, and she spent a lot of time with him. I think there was a period of about a week where I didn’t see her at all. I had the apartment all to myself. And I hated it. There was too much empty space, too much silence. During the day, I could fill up my time with errands, walks around town, and getting coffee with friends. At night, however, it became a bit lonely. There was no one to share my random moments of cleverness with (and I like to imagine this happened quite often). No one to eat dinner with. No one stay up late and avoid homework with. More often than not, doing homework was more appealing than sitting in my room alone. Yes, that is how bored I became.
But the most frustrating part was that there was no one there for support. No one there to bounce my random ideas off of. My roommate and I had gotten into the habit of having these long, intense discussions of life, religion, politics, relationships, the future while standing in the middle of the kitchen, usually eating cookie dough. We didn’t plan to have them. But one of us would ask the other some random question about whether Forever 21 or Payless had the best sandals, and it would turn into whether or not time travel was a viable option (it was a bit crazy the things we came up with). I loved these conversations. They were exhilarating, thought provoking, and just fun. I love to play around with words, arguments, and logic. Its fun for me (blame years of high school debate). With each conversation, I felt something new being presented to me, a new concept that I hadn’t even considered before. I felt alive.
While spending a semester in Cairo, I lived in a flat with seven wonderful women. Each of us were from different colleges, different states, different backgrounds, different places in our walks with God. We had so much to offer each other, so much to give. Those ladies offered me love, support, time, prayer, and conversation. We lived with each other, intentionally, in community. It was the first time I can remember living with that many women and not having to worry about drama, lies, backstabbing, and all that other petty stuff we ladies seem to attract like flies. It was such a safe, encouraging environment to live in. I was loathe to leave it. We all talked about how, if we could, we would drop everything back home and just start over somewhere new, together. Of course we didn’t. Life can’t be placed on hold in order for us to feel comfortable. But it was something, I believe, we all went back home searching for.
I have written many (probably too many) times about how people are not meant to be alone. We were created for a relationship. While it would be easiest to say that a relationship with God is all that we need, I would argue that it isn’t enough. Adam was created first, and he was created alone. God made him in His own image. He put Adam on the earth among the beasts and birds and fish. Adam had nature and he had God. Adam had the chance at having the most intense, personal, devoted relationship with God, because he was the only man in existence. But God saw that it wasn’t enough. (I would say that God wasn’t enough for Adam, but that seems to be riding a fine line of blasphemy.) So God created Eve. He created another person, a partner for Adam, a companion for him to live with. God gave Adam a relationship, a community. He gave it to them intentionally.
It is not good for man to be alone. Even with God, interacting with Him through prayer and reading the Word, it just isn’t enough. Something inside of us longs for something more, because we need something more. We need community and fellowship with other believers. One of the most frustrating parts about living with my roommate in Vegas was even in the midst of those amazing conversations, there was no encouragement in my faith, no support for my walk with God. (She was a part-time Jew with agnostic tendencies.) We need that encouragement. We need to go to church or small group or Bible studies, because that is where we can be honest with our struggles, sincere in our questions, and open with our love. We can be intentional in our fellowship.
In Philippians, Paul writes:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (2:1-4)
We are one body of Christ, united in the Holy Spirit, here for the same reason. Paul says that if there is anything we take from Christ’s example, take that of unity, in mind, spirit, and love. We are to come together, because our purpose is the same. We are each a very important part of the body of Christ. In order for that body to work, for Christ’s love to be shared with the world, we need to fellowship with each other. We need to live as Christ lived, surrounded by those you trust who are called to the same purpose. Christ, even being completely divine, needed the fellowship of His disciples, whom He chose intentionally. He needed to be in community with believers.
I encourage you to seek out that fellowship, to find a community of believers who can support you in your walk and pray with you through your struggles. We all can use a bit of help now and then. God knew this, so He gave us each other. So its okay to lean on them. There will be a time when they will lean on you. And then there will be times when you rejoice together, when you share in each others happiness. Life is meant to be celebrated, but who wants to celebrate alone?