I heard a wonderful metaphor once about life and its unclear moments, and it is this: Sometimes it's as if we are standing so close to an oil painting, and the image does not make sense. It's a hazy blur of colors. But once we take some steps back, we would actually be able to make out a whole picture, and it would probably astound us.
That's my life right now. Not the satisfaction of appreciating a finished portrait, but a close-up view. Where the swirls of paint confuse the senses and leave you wondering what in the world it is that you're looking at.
While I don't yet have an idea of the finished art piece that God is creating out of my life, I do notice some particularly striking colors in my portion of the oil painting that I currently find myself in.
These brush strokes of color are the friends and, quite simply, the good people the Lord has woven into my life since graduating college and moving home.
I stood in a circle just tonight with a handful of these people, and thinking back on the night, I consider myself so blessed to be surrounded by so many strong people of faith. Showcased in shades of blues, grays, lavenders, golds - these people have been consciously and carefully been painted into this portion of my life by a sovereign Designer.
The reason I value this community so much is because I know many people don't have this kind of goodness in their lives. Community is vital; a sense of belonging is craved by all. Many people hurt silently without a network of people they could talk to. Middle and high school students deep down beg for friends that are true and genuine. Some individuals don't even interact with people outside of their families. Or they might have friends, and they could be great friends, but they may not be Godly friends - so for mine, I am thankful.
From the church family to my Tuesday night Bible study girls to the people I encounter at my job, I have been greatly blessed to be surrounded by a multitude of encouraging, loving, and faithful people.
If this stirs something in you and you know you long for genuine friendships and life-giving community, seek it out. It won't always come knocking at your door. But if you go knocking at someone else's, I'm willing to bet the door will be opened. If it's not, try a different one - or just try again! I found my community within the church. The church isn't made of perfect people, but community can be found there. And maybe it's the color that's been missing from your own painting.
"Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble." - Proverbs 13:20
"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." - Proverbs 27:17