Welcome to challenge week three!  If you missed the first two, no sweat.  Each challenge week can stand alone and you can join us right here, right now.

If you want to go back to the previous challenges, that’s awesome too.  Do this one with us now….making this your week one. Then you can go back and do the others.

I recommend signing up for the bonus content if you have not done so already.  The bonus content is housed as an online course so you can easily toggle back and forth between the different weeks’ challenge activities, links to helpful information and more.

You really could do this 7-week challenge over 7 days if you wanted to, but we are going slow cause it’s summer and it’s a good time to slow down a little.

This week’s challenge is about cultivating your community.  Yes, we have talked about this before. In fact, it is one of the pillars to having balance in your life.  If you are new to the show, we believe that Life Balance is possible when you have three things. 1. You put God first in your life.  Following Jesus. 2. Is community and 3 is systems.

Why is community so important?  Because when you live your life in a vacuum all your problems seem bigger than they actually are.  We become self-focused and self-consumed and it’s just not good. We were not designed to live that way.  Plus, as a working mom, we need help. We need prayer. And we need accountability from other Godly women in our lives.

Honestly, this was the hardest thing for God to teach me.  Following him, yes. All day long. I wasn’t raised a Christian so I know all too well what life feels like without him.  And systems, well after I first rebelled against them, I now know that following systems is my self-care. It makes it all work.

But community?  I am pretty self-reliant and independent.  Plus, I am an introvert…so this was a hard one for me.  Not to mention I am human and have lived. Meaning I have been hurt by people.  Deeply. So why not just live on an island (metaphorically speaking) with my family and that just be enough?  Well, a lot of reasons but let me give you 3 of what I believe are the top reasons.

  1. Biggest one… it goes against God’s will for our lives.  We were meant for community. Built for each other. Depending on others giftings is how it’s all supposed to work.  

  2. Your gift will serve others.  Sometimes we think about community through the lens of what we will get out of it.  But maybe change your perspective to think what others will get from having you in their life.  Maybe it’s getting to laugh at your sense of humor or to be encouraged by your words, or blessed by your works.  Think about how you feel when others really see you, remember what’s going on in your life, when they really listen.  You have the opportunity to treat others as you would want to be treated and seen. Other people need you. This involves you actually showing up fully.  Community is not about just collecting people or groups that fill up your time. It’s about being authentically you. Going deeper and not hiding.

  3. Prayer is powerful.  I can’t even tell you how many times I have been blessed by others praying for me.  Can I be honest? I don’t love asking for prayer. This has been hard for me even knowing how powerful it can be.  I remember when I first was in a women’s bible study and they would ask for prayer requests, I felt like if I asked for prayer I would be whining or complaining.  I didn’t want to be known for that. Like at all. God has been working with me on this one. While I will pray for everything from a clearing to merge onto the freeway to miraculous healing.  Asking for others to pray for me…that’s a different story. This is where I see pride show up in my life. You know how you get over pride? You push through it. When I don’t want to ask for prayer is when I need to ask for prayer.  Plus, if someone is going to judge you for the things you are asking prayer for, let God work on their heart. As John Crist would say, check your heart.

Here is the caveat to all this goodness.

You will get hurt.  It’s not perfect. People are not perfect.  Just as God accepts us, loves us, forgives us….we are called to do that for others.  It’s not easy but it’s in the effort of that struggle that God grows us.

So here is the challenge:

Pray about where you are with community in your life.  Let God lead you into evaluating where you are and where he wants you to be.  

Maybe you need to seek out groups to join or get involved with.  Maybe you don’t need to collect any more people. God might not be calling you to go wider in community but rather, deeper.  

How can you show up more and serve others with your talents?  I know that this might sound like it’s labor intensive or will take more of the precious time that you don’t feel like you have to give.  But what if you just went to church without the mask on. What if you didn’t just make small talk but really engaged with the people you work with?  It takes intention and guts. It doesn’t always take more time.

Maybe you need to start asking for prayer.  Ask a friend to pray for you. Ask your husband, your small group from church.  We often have times in our Facebook community where we will post what we need prayer for.  I add each of those to my Life Balance Planner each week and pray over them.

By the way, can I just say, those of you doing this challenge and sharing in our FB community….you rock!

Seriously, not only have I loved reading your experiences you are having with this challenge, you are encouraging the other members of the group too!  It’s a beautiful thing….please keep it up!

If you are not part of the community, it’s free to join click here

Bottom line, real community involves becoming real and building relationships.