One of the greatest death-blows to relationships is that "happiness" is something to be “found.” In this fairy tale idea, fulfillment is simply out there – somewhere – waiting to be discovered like Prince Charming finding Cinderella. All you have to do is find the right person, join the right group, get the right job, or join the right church. It’s kind of an “Over the Rainbow” thing; it’s not here, so it must be “over” there.
Which is why so many people – and you’ve seen them, and probably flirted with it yourself – go from relationship to relationship, city to city, job to job, or church to church looking for the happiness they believe is just around the corner. “Oh, if I could only find the right people and the right place.” The idea is that relational authenticity simply exists, somewhere, and all we have to do is tap into it. It’s not something you have to work at; in fact, if you have to work at it, then it should be abandoned.
This mindset runs rampant. If you have to work at your marriage, you must not be right for each other. If you have to work at getting along with people at work, you’ve got a bad boss, or bad co-workers, or a bad structure. If you have to work on things with other people at church, well, there are obviously some serious problems with the church, or its leadership, or… yep, it’s “community.”
I cannot stress strongly enough how unrealistic, much less unbiblical, this is. Community is not something you find, it’s something you “build.” What you are longing for isn’t about finding the right mate, the right job, the right group, or the right church – it’s about MAKING your marriage, MAKING your job, MAKING your group, and MAKING your church to be what God wants it do be.
Good marriages, good relationships, and good churches are not something discovered. They are forged. I don’t mean to suggest all relationships are designed for depth, or that there aren’t dysfunctional communities you should flee from. My point is that all relationships of any worth are the product of labor.
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