Individuality in Community

Lately I’ve been thinking about how amazing individuality and relationships are. Individuality gives us a place to stand that’s all our own. I don’t know what your past is like, but mine makes this fact mind-blowing. God created us to have our own space, to be our own people, to have our own identity. We don’t have to share. I love in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where Paul says we are new, “uncommon,” creatures. We’re all unique with a precious calling that we alone can do—good works God has prepared in advance for us (Eph.. 2:10). No one has the right to define who we are or to subsume our personality in theirs. To me, this is like standing in a wide open space; some panoramic view. It’s freedom. I’m most free when I look in the mirror of who God says I am and live in the reality of that knowledge.

Not only is it freedom, it’s beauty. I spent so much of my life feeling worthless because I didn’t live up to other people’s expectations—I wasn’t the right person. You start to feel like a crazy person and then when someone says they see beauty in you, you can’t tell if you’re crazy or they are. But when you stop letting someone else steal your identity and be fully yourself, you are a unique creation of God. God is doing something with you that He’s never done before. It doesn’t matter how you look, how much makeup you wear, how often you work out, etc., etc., etc. You are beautiful because you are God’s unique individual.

Relationships on the other hand mean that as an individual, you aren’t alone. You’re free to be interdependent with others. They carry your burdens. You carry their burdens. They see things you don’t. You see things they don’t. It works out for everyone’s best when we’re in community. But only if we’re a community of individuals. Start being enmeshed with someone else’s personality and neither of you has the space to help each other out. I can freely admit that it  feels safer to have someone else define your identity. The shackles are comfortable, familiar, deliriously wonderful on one level… feeling safe and wanted. But if you’re in a relationship where you’re not allowed to be who God designed you to be, you’re not wanted for yourself.

It’s such a wondrous design–having the space to be my own person, but the ability to be a person in relationship with other individuals.

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