Being A Family by Lydia Cooper

There has been tremendous growth in the body of Christ in the area of relationships. More and more people are quoting “be the church.” Those hard hurt shells from the spirit of religion are being torn down to make rooms for doors to hearts that are warm and welcoming. Reconciliation and deep healing are taking place between those who have had deep personal hurts against one another. Meals are being shared in homes in the spirit of fellowship all over New England forging Godly alliances to build each other up, so in turn they can go and give love and hope to an ever changing society that has no idea about what it means to be loved.

Among all of the hype about family and relationships and ‘being the church’, we discover the startling truth behind being one body of Christ. We are a family made up of individuals who have different personalities. Say what?! Yes that is the case. We do not all think alike, act alike and better yet: we don’t all respond alike. Subconsciously I and many others were taught in Sunday school and on Sunday morning in hard uncomfortable pews that we are to love one another and somehow this was communicated and translated into: we have to like one another, and we were all made for the same purpose. Obviously I’m alluding to the fact that this is most definitely NOT the case. Lets just be real for a moment to be honest that sometimes (for some its a lot of the time) there are people who we love and respect but would not hang out with on a regular basis.

There are certain parts of the ‘body’ that are meant to ‘connect’ with directly, and others that help us to function and grow and move however aren’t attached to. A hand and a foot are not connected except through the rest of the body however they are capable of touching. I know I’m speaking in metaphor but I know that this is something that to me is a basic concept and something that I personally go through.

Where it gets tricky being a family is that people are going through their own stuff, there is always room for growth and for Jesus to teach us about His heart for the world. This means that people are going to be snippy sometimes, crabby and rude. Maybe they don’t want a hug, or life gets swamped and you don’t see them for a month. Whatever the case may be its always God’s desire to pursue that connection with each other, to give grace in the struggle. Personally I’m always asking God in my frustrations “How do I be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem?”

We all have our own gifts, talents, passions etc that aid us in our individual callings and purposes for sharing Jesus’s love and gift of grace to this hurting world. We are all called to be one body, but each part does different functions. The kidneys do something in our bodies completely different than the right thumb. One is equipped to handle toxins and filter them out, the other is designed to aid the other 4 fingers to grasp onto things. One is soft and squishy, the other is hard and firm but both are needed. I would rather be functioning and doing what God’s called me to do than attempt to fit where I think I should be because its important for the body to have ‘kidneys’ and ‘thumbs’.

Sometimes finding that function requires us to try new things, speak to people in leadership who have good vision and God’s vision for the church, and it might even mean relinquishing something you tried when its just not you. It doesn’t hurt to try many different things that the church has in order to find out, or to learn how just for the sake of learning how! Go ahead and ask to help in the kitchen on a sunday meal, volunteer to help clean on a tuesday evening, offer assistance to the person in charge of the nursery or kids church. Want to be on a prayer team? Ask! Pray, seek and try it out.

Its important to have and to show grace when your family is trying all these new things out. Be willing to be honest with each other, communicate, and seek answers. After all we are family and the bottom line is that we may not have it all figured out, but we certainly do love one another.

Written by Lydia Cooper

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