Living in community is essential for the full life. Some people out of experience or fear draw back from relationships – worried that they will get burned. We cannot allow fear or any other factor to keep us from engaging in that which we were created for – community. God created us with the intention of us being interconnected with others. He created a beautiful scenario where we need others and are able to help meet the needs of others.

Living in community is a wise choice for each of us. However, living in community means that at some point you are likely going to get burned. I’m not talking about actual fire or heat, I am talking about the relational fire that comes from being hurt or let down by people close to you.

People are imperfect. I know I am far from perfect… the people closest to me are DEFINITELY aware of it. While I might not know you I am confident you are far from perfect as well. Here is what is interesting – while I know that I am imperfect and so are the people around me I still find myself surprised when I am burned by imperfect people.

Pursuing a full life seems to put us in a unique place. We could avoid the relational burn by avoiding people – but the full life God intends for us to have is found in connected community with others. Therefore the question we must ask ourselves is not “how do I avoid getting burned” but rather, “what do you do when you get burned?

The answer is simple – yet frustrating. Getting burned is frustrating. Getting burned hurts. Getting burned costs you something.

But getting burned does not change what God set in place. You were created for community, and so was I. Getting hurt or wronged by people does not mean you can pull back from community and become a recluse. Being burned by people does not negate our need for healthy relationships found in community.

So what do you do when you get burned? You get up, dust yourself off, clean your wounds and keep engaging. Do not allow a relational breakdown to change your whole outlook on community.

Is there an area where you have pulled back? Perhaps there is a relationship, or a circle of people who you now avoid because you were burned? God intends for you to live in interconnected community with others. Consider today where you might be pulled back out of fear or wounding, and ask God for the strength to help you get up, tend to your wounds and then jump back in.