Have you ever found yourself feeling lonely but unsure why? Perhaps you’ve laid down to sleep after a full day of talking to other parents at school, mixing it up with coworkers, or chatting with dozens of acquaintances at a party. Yet as you try to fall asleep, you still feel all alone. How could this be?
Some of us, however, never even notice our loneliness. We have this overarching sense of dissatisfaction with life, but never can figure out where it comes from. We try our best to satisfy it, but everything we try only makes us forget about it for a short time.
I’m convinced that much of this can be traced back to deficient relationships. The vast majority of us have stunted relationships with others and with our Maker. And our heart knows it.
Pastor Jeremy Linneman summarizes the challenge of our relationships this way:
Like Jesus, we exist for relationships. We are created in the image of this triune God. To be fully human means to live in relationships. If Jesus was the most “fully alive” person ever, it shouldn’t surprise us that a person cannot become fully human without a community. Simply put, we were created for community.
Contemporary life has confirmed this: More than any single need, like self-esteem or personal autonomy, human beings most fundamentally need a place to belong. A person without a family or small group of friends will struggle throughout life and never become whole. We are inescapably relational beings.
So if we are relational beings, created for community, why are relationships so hard? Beyond the simple reality that we are also sinful beings living in a broken world, what makes community so hard today?
We are busy, we are over-committed, and we live dis-integrated lives.
Our life moves quickly, and we find ourselves saying things like, “I’m so busy,” or “Life’s just crazy right now.” And often we fall into the trap of saying, “It’s just a busy season.” But the seasons slip into years, our nominal relationships pile up, and we become an inch deep and a mile wide.
To go through life without building deep connections with others is to go through life less than fully alive. It’s not the way God intended for us to live. At CCC we utilize small groups to create space for those connections to happen.
Some of you have tried small groups and it hasn’t gone well. I get that. But how’s living an isolated life going for you? Give them another try.
Some of you stay away from small groups because you envision people sitting cross-legged on the floor singing Kumbaya. We only do that on the third week of every month. Just kidding.
Some of you avoid small groups because you’re afraid of what will happen if you really open up to others. That’s understandable. But what should really scare you is what will happen if you don’t.
Still others of you simply don’t have the time. And that’s a legitimate issue. I’d encourage you to reevaluate and reprioritize so that you don’t have time for other things, instead of small group. Outside of Sunday morning worship, I’d argue that no other regular commitment should trump small group. It’s that important.
Whatever it is that’s holding you back, I’m praying you’d fight through it. Commit to joining a small group and participating in it fully for six weeks. See what happens. You’ve got nothing to lose. If you want to be a follower of Jesus, you need a community to follow Him with. Dive in. Let’s don’t settle for being a mile wide and an inch deep.