I haven’t said a word in hours. Not because I’m shocked or angry or freezing someone out but because I spend a very high percentage of my time alone. I’m a single woman past the point of youth where you’re running from thing to thing, surrounded by roommates that all pile into a little apartment like puppies. I come home and I fold laundry and make dinner and cut flowers for a vase and try to decide what to do with my downtime.
Being single at this junction is tricky because as a woman in my thirties, I would’ve been burned out by now if I’d spent my twenties running after marriage. I’ve slowly but surely settled into being alone more than I would have expected. But there’s still a deep need I have for community, and we need to talk about it.
First, a little history. In an effort to minister well to sub-groups, the Church over time has broken ministry into sections: children, youth, couples, elderly, parents. And while these things aren’t bad at all, they complicate things for those of us without wedding bands because we never really know where to fit. We’re not college kids needing a family to adopt them and offer to let them use the washer and dryer on weekends. We’re not attending camps geared toward our spiritual growth. We’re not going to conferences just for our season of life and calling it a “Weekend to Remember.” We’re walking the tightrope between cynicism and joyful independence. We want to sink into the rhythms of adult life but wonder if this is all there is.
The good news is this: this is not all there is. See, the Bible is full of people who encountered Jesus from all kinds of walks of life. They were single, married, betrothed, working, impoverished, wounded, and strong. And when the Church is established, we’re told over and over again that they gathered together and they supported one another.
Acts 2:44-47 says, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
The Church is the gathering of God’s people, and our united faith in Christ is what causes us to have “all things in common.” Is this easy? Heck no. This is tricky. But when we are willing to be inconvenienced to live out the vision painted in Acts of what the body of believers is capable of at its best, the Kingdom is being built.
Am I willing to get interrupted by a toddler who just got out of bed again so I can still connect with a friend who has to stay home after 8pm? Is it possible for me to attend a wedding and rejoice rather than retreat into self-pity? Will my understanding of Jesus’ love be better understood if I surround myself with children and watch them live with wonder and simple faith?
The answer to all of these things is a resounding yes because God made us for community, and it points us back to Him. When we are willing to welcome people with different life experiences, our vision is refreshed and challenged in good ways. When we see what the other members of the Church offer, we can celebrate what God is doing, rather than compare.
When we look at the world, we might have justification for our cynicism and reasons to stay away from those who have what we do not. But the beauty of the upside-down kingdom of God is that we get to draw near to one another and not see it as a threat. I can spend my energy on giving my parent friends a break. I can give my prayer time to asking God to help my friends’ marriages to thrive. I can seek the well-being of others because they are my brothers and sisters.
And those on the other side? You get to do this, too. Invite your single friends to dinner. Ask them to come over after the kids go down. Welcome them into the mess and the toy-covered living room. Be honest about your struggle with infertility or insecurity.
We often don’t get close to one another out of suspicion and division, but we are called to — with gratitude! — break bread together. Because guess what? Moms and wives and students and single gals are all struggling with mostly the same things: not knowing what’s for dinner, how not enough dresses have pockets, how not enough grocery stores carry our favorites. No one has consistent cell phone coverage. No one is reading their Bible without putting forth some effort.
Let’s bring light into the loneliness of being in our silos. May we delight in relationship, knowing that God is pleased when we come together. He is, after all, a Triune God. As a three-in-one Creator, His very nature is community.
So go. Send the text. Meet the person you don’t believe you have common ground with. I guarantee you’re both tired and hungry and looking for Jesus. And honestly? That’s usually the best place to start.Leave a Comment