During the summer, many of us, and especially students, are ‘all over the place’ on vacation, doing research, and visiting family and friends. Several recent meetings have reminded me how hard it is to have real, transparent community with other Christians under these circumstances. The truth is, even under ideal circumstances, it’s hard to be honest about our struggles, let alone when we’re distracted and scattered.
Healthcare students are especially vulnerable to this dynamic. All are in intense programs that create isolation. New second-year medical students are enjoying their ‘last free summer’, often piecemeal in many different places. Third-year students are now on rotations, facing pressure in seeing real patients and struggling with feelings of inadequacy, often far from home. Fourth-year students have become interns and are exhausted, in addition to greatly-increased responsibility, and, once again, realizing all that they don’t know. (Is it ever easy?!)
And so, my encouragement to you today is to make sure you find – or create – real, honest community wherever you are. It may be just one other Christian, but you’ve got to let someone in on what’s really happening. Maybe it’s your battle with pornography. Or that you’re ready to give up altogether. Or a relationship that’s killing you. Or your intense struggles with feelings of insecurity.
Great things happen when we open up. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Being honest with, and praying for, each other leads to deep healing. And Galatians 6:2 encourages us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Did you catch that? When we listen to each other and take on each other’s struggles, in some sense we fulfill all that Christ commands!
Much more could be said, but hopefully you get the point. We need to be in community that’s real. Now. Ideally, in person, but if that’s not possible, over the phone or even email. If you don’t have these kind of relationships, where can you start? When will you do it?
Or, maybe you’re in real relationships, but know someone who’s not and struggling. You can make a difference in their lives by moving toward them, or, encouraging someone else you trust to do the same.