Together We Make an Outfit: The Joys of Living in Community
Let me just start off by saying this: I love the hall life. I love late night pillow talks about not using Scripture outside of context. I love doing lamp-lit homework in someone else’s room and having a cactus (or three) growing on
my windowsill. And yes, I even love the communal bathrooms (you would be amazed the conversations that take place when you are doing your makeup). But the best part of hall life, especially hall life here at Liberty, is the community. I see my friends who go to public colleges posting about sororites and pledging and their sisters, and to be honest I can understand the allure. Everyone wants community. Everyone wants to feel like they are part of a family. Well, here is mine.
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I remember complementing Lindsey last semester on the outfit that she was wearing, and she told me that the dress wasn’t hers, only the necklace was. Jokingly, Karla, her roommate and the owner of the dress said “Together, we make an outfit.” I doubt Karla thought anything of it, but that simple phrase has not stopped resonating in my soul all year. Together we make an outfit. The sum is really greater than its parts. We need each other. We need community. We need to ask for help. We need vulnerability. We can’t do it on our own. A statement necklace is only a statement once it is paired with a great outfit. On its own, it may be flashy, but it really is meaningless. It can’t shine without going together with something else.
Cheetah print Toms Wedges, flannel, a flower headband, and a pencil skirt individually are not significant. But when you add them all together, you have an outfit knit together by the Creator of the Universe Himself. Together, this is the outfit that we make, that God knit us into.
Isn’t that a beautiful picture of what this Christian life should look like? We can’t do anything on our own: we weren’t created to! Scripture is very clear about the need for Christian brothers and sisters.
- Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17
- Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Growing up, girls were mean. Well, let’s face it. Girls are mean. And when they get bored, they pass the time by making up drama for other people. I’ve heard gossip countless times before, and I have lost several friends to rumors based in vindictive fiction. What girl survives middle or high school without it? But this time, it’s different. For the past few weeks, I have heard some horrible things about this group of women, and never have I been so offended, so hurt, so protective, and so broken by rumors. I go a little bit Momma Bear. I love these girls, it hurts me to see their character attacked, and it saddens me that people would even take time to make it up. But to be honest, it also makes me laugh. Because these women of the Lord SHINE. It reminds me of this verse in Matthew:
Let your light shine before men, so that they might see your good deeds, and glorify your Father in Heaven.
These ladies do that! They live in a such a way that there is no room for people to question their motives, their heart, or their walk with The Lord. They live above reproach. And laughter really is the only response to such baseless attacks! Anyone who knows these women know they are so focused on the Lord, they have time for little else.
Last year when I was picking a hall, I didn’t really pay much attention to the Hall Theme. Sure, they are a nice idea, but I didn’t think that it even mattered. It didn’t dictate prayer groups, it was just sorta there. But how wrong I was. The hall theme this year is SHINE. Looking back over this year, no one has shown Christ’s love brighter than these ladies have. When my life was dark, deep, and desperate, they were there shining His light, love, and glory into even the hidden places in my life. When my life was good, easy, and trial free, they were there to celebrate with me. I have never met another group of ladies who exemplify this command from Christ the way they do.
When I was a little girl, my mother always told me not to stare at the sun. And I never listened. I remember looking up and squinting so much, that I lost sight of the sun itself, all I could see was the light coming from the sun. That is what I want my life to look like. When people look at me, I want Jesus to shine so brightly in me that people have to squint, and I disappear. All they can see is Jesus.
That is what life on this hall has been like. That is what doing life with these ladies has been like. You watch them live their lives, you speak to them, and you have to start squinting. They disappear. This world disappears. And all that is left is Jesus.
Provers 13:20 says this:
He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
And 1 Corinthians 15:33 says this:
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
I have learned so much from them. This year, while the hardest season in my life, was the best season in my life, because of them. I have grown in wisdom. The outcome was good. They taught me to confront when I wanted to cower. They taught me to love when I wanted to leave. They taught me to fight when I wanted to forfeit. And they taught me to surrender when I wanted to succumb.
- Confront sin and evil in my life, and rebuke it. Not cower to it and the influence it could have.
- Love the unloveable, when leaving would be easier and far less painful.
- Fight for the things the Lord has called me to, and not forfeit to the attacks from the evil one.
- Surrender my plans to the Lord, when succumbing to pressure seems easier.
I will be forever grateful that The Lord in his sovereignty handpicked this team. I have never grown so much in all of my life. It wasn’t because my quiet time was always consistent, because it wasn’t. More often than I would like to admit, my devotionals laid untouched on my desk, and I only read my Bible when it was for homework or I was preparing a lesson. And this growth was certainly not because life was easy this year. I have gone through some of the deepest valleys, experienced the most gut wrenching pain, and seen some searing losses. The growth was because of each and every one of these ladies. They carried me on their knees when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. They loved me when I thought I was underserving. They served me when I couldn’t give anymore. And I will forever be grateful.
To M33-1: Thank you showing me Christ. Thank you for being Christ. And thank you for leaving me better than you found me. I love you.