When I was in high school, the cross country coach would ask us to occasionally run with a potato chip in our hands. His goal was to get our muscles all working together in a way that is best for our body to run without underusing (being too loose) or overusing (cramping up) them. As we began the practice of "the potato chip" some of us were notorious for crushing the chip, others were commonly found letting the chip fall from our hands and to the ground.
I started thinking about how I tend to do that to those living in the same community as me. I am either crushing them by forcing things that they are not ready for or trying to push too hard in certain areas of their life.... or I am letting them fall from my hands and onto the ground by ignoring their needs and not pursuing them in their relationship with Christ enough out of fear or whatever other excuse I might have at the moment. I want to learn the balance of every spiritual discipline in place so that I know when to hold firmly, but not too tightly and I know when to loosen up, but not too much that they flounder. Does that make sense?
Well, I was thinking about how the interns were there in community with me and I relearned the art of balance with all the disciplines. With them gone, I find myself in the same place as before with losing the sharpness and awareness of using all my muscles together in a way that shows Christ to those around me without shoving Christ in an environment that "do not throw pearls before swine."
Wow, community is really important. I know that the Lord will grow me in this season by sharpening muscles I don't have to use as much in community, but I also know that there is a purpose for others in my life, always. I want to ready!
As I finished my run and I tried to loosen up my muscles in a way that the cramp would diminish, I thanked the Lord that he has given me a community that will quickly show me my errors (sin) and want to work with me to correct them and continue running.