I've always had a bent towards self-sufficiency. Even if it's to my detriment.
My parents will tell you stories of how (before I was big enough to feed myself when I was little) would try and rip the spoon out of their hands and feed myself. While I've outgrown many of my toddler characteristics since then (potty training FTW), that one characteristic of refusing assistance is something I never really outgrew.
I'm learning that particular characteristic may not be the healthiest way of doing life. It's taken over 28 years but I'm coming around.
Megan and I have hit some interesting challenges in the last couple of months, more than we have probably ever faced in our married lives. Left up to our own, we would have just dealt with everything we were facing by ourselves. For one reason or another, we brought our community into our lives during this season. Fortunately, that close group of friends and our parents cared enough to impose their wills and help us with various things whether we asked for it or not.
We've had friends cook us dinner when we were too exhausted or constrained on time to do it ourselves. Megan's parents let us crash at the beach with them for several days. My parents came down to help me replace parts of the back deck of our house. Other people have extended their personal networks to help us with various things at just the right times. While I initially felt hesitant to bring others into some of the more stressful parts of our lives, looking back I don't know how we would have done it any other way.
And I realized that's how humans are designed. We're designed for community. We weren't built to do everything on our own.
We weren't meant to do life alone
From a professional level, I've learned a lot about this at DeMoss. In the last three years, I've seen how a small group of people can have various skills that can compliment each other to create incredible work. I've learned to suck up my pride and ask others for a second look, design pointers on a presentation or help writing up a memo or proposal. Without the team around me supporting me in a variety of capacities, I would not have been able to effectively get done what I have since I've been working there.
Personally, I've seen how my life has improved since I've been married. Doing life with another person has definitely improved my own quality of life. Megan and I both have very different things we bring to our home, which help each other out a lot day-to-day.
While we've had friends help us with things, we have also been able to help others in the past with moving, supporting a mission or cooking a meal or two. Megan and I love to help people in any capacity that we are able to. That said, I'm also learning how to graciously be on the receiving end of that help.
Community and Comparative Advantage
We are all skilled at different things and bring different gifts to the table. The economic theory of comparative advantage teaches us how tapping into other people/companies/countries who do something better (or more efficiently) than you is a way to build a stronger economy. In the Bible, Paul talks about how we all make up different parts of one body and all have different gifts to contribute.
The idea of community is similar. We all rely on each other's strengths to compliment where we may not be as strong. Community makes us stronger at the end of the day.
Community is also strongest when its members leave their pride at the door. That's one aspect I'm gradually learning more about. Real community is often a humbling experience.
What about you? How has community impacted you?