I didn’t set out to write a blog post on fellowship. I actually tried to write about joy. When I sat down to write on a break in between clients, this is what ended I ended up typing instead. I couldn’t get it out of my head, so maybe someone needs this. I know I do.
Sometimes people think counselors should have it all together because we have master's degrees in helping others get it together. I’ve found it is often the opposite. Those who are drawn to be counselors are those who have been through a lot or have walked through hurt with others. We have found a home in this place. It is not necessarily a happy home, but it sure is rewarding. Each hour of our job is spent sitting with others, talking about the worst parts of their lives - stretching and prodding until something sticks and they finally begin to see a light.
It's hard to do this all by ourselves. That's why counselors have jobs. We need others to walk alongside us. This isn’t only the jobs of counselors, though; this is also part of fellowship.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" - Galatians 6:2.
God calls us to walk with each other. This doesn’t just mean getting dinner with each other once every few months to check it off the list. This doesn’t just mean going paddle boarding at the Whitewater Center. This means intentionally asking friends about their lives, their thoughts, and their emotions. This means following up and not leaving them to continue walking alone. We are called to carry each others’ burdens. It isn’t an easy task.
This is something I’ve struggled with in Christian community. I’ve often felt like I’ve been on the outside, like my problems were “too much,” or like I was complaining when I talked to someone about the things I was struggling with. There have been seasons in which I’ve withdrawn from community because of this. There have been seasons where I’ve been so desperate for it that I’ve driven others away. It has often been a lonely journey. I can’t say that I hadn’t given up at points, because I had, but God never gives up.
“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” - 1 Thessalonians 5:14.
That last part - “be patient with them all” - is the key. The last four and a half years have been the hardest of my life. They have tested every friendship I have had. Those who have been patient with me, those who have been consistent - those are the people I cling to. Those are the friendships that have grown. Thinking of these people makes me so grateful that it brings tears to my eyes. We are not meant to live life on our own.
We are meant to carry each others’ burdens and to live real, honest, authentic life - the good and the bad - in fellowship.
Soon before Jesus went to the cross, he said to his disciples,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” - John 13:34.
Let’s love each other. Let’s ask the hard questions, listen to the long answers, and give our time when there is no time. This is true fellowship in love.