I've heard people say that they want "organic community". People all over the world are tired of feeling lonely and they ache to have friendships, a place free from pretense or a pressure to perform. And who could disagree with that?
The greatest need of humanity is for healthy relationships. Reasonably speaking then, the greatest fear is to be alone or separated from those we are seek connection with. Sometimes we settle for painful, abusive or shallow relationships because we refuse to be alone. The truth is, everyone desires community that springs up, grows strong and lasts.
We were made for it.
But it doesn't come easy.
Organic produce takes the greatest labor to attain and contains the greater risk of loss because it does not use sprays or pesticides to guarantee success. Weeds are removed without chemicals. It also takes the greater amount of time, as there are no modifications done to the plant to force quick growth.
However the taste is sweeter and the colors are richer. Plus, it is just plain healthier. I'm thinking that organic friendships are going to take that kind of commitment and diligence as well.
Four Ways to Grow Organic Communities
1. Throw out the old "chemically-altered" ways in your friendships of manipulation and control.
You may get what you think you want in the moment, but there is no long-term development of community in the long run. People were designed to be free; when we always find a way to get our way, we are the ones who will lose out. Either our friends will back up to protect their freedom, or they will stay in guilt and powerlessness. Both of those options are not enjoyable. It won't create the hang-out sessions where we laugh loudly and share from the heart.
2. Do the hard work of weeding out comparison and jealousy.
These will choke out every true friendship - guaranteed. If you can't celebrate the fortune of your friends, you don't really love them - you are just using them. Bless them in their increase, promotion, or favor. Pray for further benefits to come their way. When jealousy springs up (and it will) refuse to let it stay!
3. Protect your friendships from the assault of fear and insecurity.
.If the people around you have a reputation of honesty and integrity, go ahead, take the risk and trust them. A friendship is a give-and-take deal. If you shut people out and refuse to ever be vulnerable, that isn't love. Love is the soil of organic living.
4. Be patient and trust the process.
True friendships take time to grow and different seasons of life will change how these friendships look. If you "lock-in" and commit to be a servant for the sake of love, not for your own benefit, people will want to be around you. If you are not self-centered and instead ask real questions to others, friendships will have a chance to grow.
Cultivate the environment you want to live in; don't wait for someone else to do it first!
If you want organic community, it will cost you, but the cost will be worth it.
In a future post, I want to target the topics of "confession and confrontation". I believe these are two natural "fertilizers" that help every friendship grow.
Now, what about you?
What is a change you can make right away to begin strengthening your friendships?
What other lessons have you learned from your experience?