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Community: When is it ok to Leave?

At what point is it ok to choose to leave a community you have been a part of? This is a question my husband and I have been wrestling with over the last year or so. It’s been tough. It’s been hard.

As this question has been taking up a major part of my mind and prayers lately, I’ve realized a few things:

1. Sometimes community can cause disappointments and these disappointments are often because we have unmet expectations. Being able to name the unmet expectations we had of that particular community is necessary for us to be able to discern what God may be inviting us into.

2. Sometimes community can cause pain and often that pain comes from miscommunication. Being able to pinpoint where the miscommunication happened and being willing to see our own part in it is helpful for us to see the other with compassion.

3. Sometimes community comes into our lives for just a season, where we grow and are able to lean into our giftings, becoming more like the people God created us to be...more like our true selves. These seasons can be very rewarding, they can also be painful to let go of when the season comes to a close.

4. Sometimes community is taken away from us by no fault of our own and we are left holding the shattered pieces as they slip through our fingers like sand, unsure as to what happened or what went wrong. These are the moments when taking some time for silence and solitude, reflection and prayer can be helpful in the healing process that needs to take place within us.

So, now I'm back to my question, which is: at what point is it really ok to leave a community we have been a part of?

I do not have the answer to that. I wish I had a formula or a better answer for you, but sometimes formulas and "right" answers aren't true and right for every circumstance.

I do, however, know that sometimes God does move us on and that shows up in many different ways.

May we take the time we need to sit in the stillness and quiet so we can learn to listen to and discern the gentle quiet voice of our loving Father who is always with and for us.

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