Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12
I know I have great friends. They are constantly doing sweet things for me like picking up Starbucks when their hair is half done because I'm starving to sending me random cards from the other side of the country just to make me smile. I am so thankful for them. But I was recently reminded of how important godly community is and the obligation we have to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I arrived home Sunday night physically and emotionally exhausted. It had been a long busy weekend full of highs and lows. Since I had been going nonstop I hadn't fully had time to reflect on the lows and as I changed into my sweatpants I collapsed onto the floor in a pile of tears. I wasn't even completely sure why I was upset. I was just overwhelmed as everything hit me all at once. As I cried out to God for comfort the doorbell rang.
Usually I ignore the doorbell if I don't expect anyone but it was freezing and I thought it might be my neighbor who I had just been talking to just a few minutes earlier; so I got up. As I looked through the peephole I saw it was my roommate's best friend. I wiped my runny nose, put on a smile, and opened the door to let her in. I tried to act like everything was ok and make small talk but she instantly called me out. She said "everything is NOT ok" and put her arms around me in a hug. She then went on to remind me that in Galatians we are called to carry each other's burdens.
I forget that a lot. I try to be strong and I try to help everyone else but seldom do I allow people to help me. Like the verse in Ecclesiastes says it is not good for us to be alone. It is also not our job to fix all the world's problems. Sometimes we need to be vulnerable. Sometimes we just need to rest in out mutual grief instead of rushing to find a solution.
At the Passion conference in Atlanta this year (the first one) Ben Stuart said "the pursuit of intimacy happens within the context of adversity" that is true in both our vertical, us and God, and horizontal, us and our neighbors, relationships. The thing I value most in my friendships are people that trust me enough to take off the mask of perfection. I've had friends for the better part of a decade that still shock me when they share things because they usual put on the "everything is awesooommee" face. In those rare moments of honesty I realize I have no idea who they really are.
I know transparency is easier when it's in the security of our closest friends. But we need to be more real with our Church (the big C is intentional) family; our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will never establish godly community if we are more concerned about maintaining an image than building relationships.