As I have 10 days remaining in my time of solitude, this excerpt from Waking the Dead about community rings so true. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Be kind, for everyone you know is facing a great battle.
A true community is something you will have to fight for. You’ll have to fight to get one, and you’ll have to fight to keep it afloat. But you fight for it like you bail out a life raft during a storm at sea. You want this thing to work. You need this thing to work. You can’t ditch it and jump back on the cruise ship. This is the church; this is all you have. Without it, you’ll go down. Or back to prison.
Suddenly all those “one another’s” in Scripture make sense. Love one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Forgive one another. Acts of kindness become deeply meaningful because we know we are at war. Knowing full well that we are all facing battles of our own, we give one another the benefit of the doubt. Leigh isn’t intentionally being distant from me – she’s probably under an assault. That’s why you must know each other’s stories, know how to “read” one another. A word of encouragement can heal a wound; a choice to forgive can destroy a stronghold. You never knew your simple acts were so weighty. Its what we’ve come to call “lifestyle warfare.”
We check in regularly with one another, not out of paranoia (“Do you still like me?”), but in order to watch over each other’s hearts. “How are you doing?” But be careful about what you are looking for from community. For if you bring your every need to it, it will collapse. Community is no substitute for God. I left our annual camping trip absolutely exhausted and disappointed. As we drove home, I realized it was because I was looking to them to validate me, appreciate me, fill this aching void in my heart. Only once in ten days did I take time to be away with God, alone. I was too busy trying to get my needs met through them. Which is why community cannot live without solitude.
(Waking The Dead , 199, 200 )