Ever have that feeling that God is tugging on your heart to step outside of your comfortable community and see someone on the fringes? It baffles me how God can know and see someone so intimately, yet I could pass right by that same person day after day and never truly SEE them.

I've been lovingly convicted lately that I grasp too tightly to all the various communities that I'm apart of.  I've got my stay-at-home mom community, my bible study community, my kid's school community, my church community, my friends from childhood community, and of course my Influence/Thrive Moms community.  And they are amazing. And life-giving. And a gift from God. 

But at closer examination, I've realized lately how homogenous most of those circles truly are. I am in a very comfortable bubble of FEMALE, CHRISTIAN, MOTHERS of the same SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS as I am. I don't seek out others who are exactly like me on purpose necessarily. But that is our nature isn't it? We gravitate to others who are like us. We gravitate to easy relationships where we fit right in.

Wow.

I've been in awe this past year of Jesus' ministry when he walked this earth. In my 20 years of being a Christian, I have never been so enamored with the actual character of Jesus. With his kindness but boldness, and with his total disregard for social norms. He truly didn't care to be politically correct and I love that. He could care less what your job was. What your social status was. Who you were friends with. Or what your bank account looked like. He said count it all as loss! It literally means nothing.

Over and over he chose to sit with social outcasts and sinners and people who were so sick that no one would dare touch their skin. He looked them in the eye. He invited them into his personal space. And when the self-righteous Pharisees gasped with judgement and shock, he said radical things to them like "If you want to be first, go to the back of the line." and "If you want to be a leader, then act like a servant." and "If you hang onto your life, you will actually lose it." and "I love your enemies, so you have to love them too."

Whaaaaaat? It's so counter-cultural. And I love it. He exists outside of our culture and sociology and laws. He is not worried about a perfect reputation.  He does not suffer from F.O.M.O. like many of us do (fear of missing out).  And best of all - he truly understood COMMUNITY.

No one would have blamed a respected Rabbi like Jesus if he only hung around with other Jewish law-keepers. It would be expected that he would associate with others similar to him. But no, he actually preferred to hang around with those who were different from him. He simply desired a relationship with every human being - no matter how messy or uncomfortable. 

I'm certainly not saying we need to give up our awesome communities that help do life with us. My girlfriends aren't Pharisees! But how do I do community in a well balanced way? How do I look for opportunities to invite people into my home who may be messier than I am? What about those who need to be shown the love of Jesus in a tangible way? Am I intentional about expanding my community to those outside my comfortable suburbs? 

I will admit, this is a work in progress for me. I am thankful that I feel God calling me out to the fringes and expanding my circles. Lord, thank you for not letting me sit in my own sin and selfishness. Help me to walk like you walked and to see like you see.

 

Connect with Bri Carlisle via her personal blog, Woven, or find her capturing pretty things over on Instagram.

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