Blog By Jessica Beckham
I walked into Wave Church at 14 years of age insecure, apprehensive, shy and desperately wanting to belong. I listened to the pastor say “Show yourself to be friendly and say hi to your neighbors.” My face got hot and I remember thinking what if I’m not accepted? What if someone gets to know me and decides I’m not worthy of friendship? The “What ifs” danced in my head and as a young girl of 14 I was riddled with insecurity. I let 5 years go by keeping to myself, careful not to let anyone in, it seemed like the ultimate protection. If I build walls I won’t be rejected, this seems safe, but as CS Lewis says “In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another… the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting-any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ who said to His disciples, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to a group of friends, “You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another. The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauty in others.”
I finally decided I’d had enough. this year is different I whispered to my heart, God I’m going to make friends and get involved and nothing is going to stop me. That very night I decided to attend to the young adult’s ministry. This same evening, I met my husband of now almost 12 years. He introduced me to his friend my first community group leader. I remember the first time she asked me to hang out outside of community group. My heart welled up with joy, I was accepted, I was encouraged in my triumphs and victories and I was listened to and prayed for in the valleys of life. Community group has changed me from the inside out. It took me digging my heels in and making the decision that fear and insecurity would no longer hold the reigns of my life, they wouldn’t dictate any of my choices.
Community Group is where I met my best friends, healing began, and testimonies are shared to encourage one another to stay the course because God is faithful. Rev. 12:11 (NIV) “They triumphed over him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony…” Community group is where your best friends rally by your side because that medical diagnosis does not get the final say, God does. In community when you’re praying and believing for a family member to get saved these same brothers and sisters in Christ are there praying and standing in the gap for your loved ones. Addictions are broken, the Holy Spirit moves and speaks to your heart. Not only are lives transformed in community but, I’ve found friendships are birthed and the lies of the enemy are washed away and what’s left is a group of people standing with you and holding your hand through life’s heartaches and life’s celebrations. Galatians 6:2 (NIV) Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
It is my prayer today that this will encourage you to find a community group that will give you the love and acceptance that we all earnestly hope for. I pray that you will find a couple people whose spiritual walk you hope to emulate, find a mentor, receive accountability and grow in Christ with beautiful friendships by your side.