A couple of weeks ago I wrote about community; what it means, how I struggle with it, and how I want to become better at being “community minded”. But you know what’s difficult about it? Beyond the awkward stages of learning about others, being vulnerable, and being intentional, there’s a certain amount of trust that has to develop. A faith that being real with people, who may or may not (but hopefully!) accept you, and that you can reciprocate it.
So let’s be real. It is difficult and trying to dive into community when past experiences haunt us. It is terrifying to trust people when people before have failed us (or vise versa). It is an essential part of community: bringing forth our baggage and letting people see it. And that, especially when it comes to the past, is rough stuff.
I have some trust issues. What’s odd is that I didn’t know past situations had created it within me. Transparency, in some aspects, is incredibly easy. But face to face, with other people who know people I know, is not always easy. I clam up. I look down. I lose the bravery to bring out the raw, unfiltered stuff.
How do I fight it? I don’t. I can’t ignore whatever lies behind me and pretend as though it doesn’t affect me. I can’t be the girl I was years ago when the woman I am today is so different, because of who that girl was and what she experienced. And you guys, that is okay. Super okay. Completely okay. I can’t be the woman that I am not. Being in community is difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, and you know what? It takes time. Bringing out the raw, unfiltered junk of life takes a lot of courage, and when it does, there better be hugs all around. Bravery is exhausting! Vulnerability is draining! Being transparent is scary! Reaching that moment is a holy thing, one that takes faith that those around you will welcome it with loving, comforting arms.
The past doesn’t define us. Right? But it does have a great impact on the people we become. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time. There’s nothing wrong with gathering your courage to be in true community. There’s nothing wrong with being real with yourself, because trust is difficult when the past has been trying. Take your time, friend. You may toil for some time, you may have to fight against your own thoughts of avoiding community to get to community. But do it lovingly. When the moment comes when you find the faith, when the courage is within you, it will be holy.