Every January I choose a word for the year. I pray about it and really try to pick one I feel God is laying on my heart. This year I chose courage. I chose it with the intent to love Jesus more courageously and to be more courageous in my faith. In April we were presented with the possibility of a move. It took courage to make the decision to move across the country. It would have been much easier to stay put, in our dream house, surrounded by friends and family. But we felt God calling us into something bigger. Since we have moved, I have felt God calling me to stop living safely. I am usually not very outgoing when it comes to opening up and interacting with others. But He has been showing me there is not much to lose if I open up and talk about Him, so why not go for it? I’m also not as concerned with what people think of me, and as a hard-core people pleaser, that truly is a work of God!
As with anything, it’s a work in progress. I am learning many things through this process. A good friend of mine, who I am so thankful for, also recently moved. We have been pressing into these trials of moving. I want so badly to snap my fingers and be through the adjustment period. I want the relationships to be established and the sadness of all we left behind to disappear. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. My friend reminded me that we do have to grieve the loss of our old life and really feel it. But we can’t get stuck there. We both agree that focusing on the downsides and the hard things is completely unhelpful. And the people who live where you do don’t want to hear how unhappy you are there. We’re both struggling to find local friends. She has found it harder to find friends at this stage of life because a lot of people don’t have a felt need for new friends. You have to be very intentional to make those relationships. I have also found if people sense you aren’t going to live here forever, they are hesitant to invest any time with you. But having long-distance friends who check in regularly can help keep you afloat.
Being the newbie will give you a new perspective and empathy. I have been guilty of keeping my ‘friend circle’ pretty closed. Now I am on the other side and understand how that can feel. I know how it feels to be an outsider and not fit in. And while it can be painful, it is a good reminder I don’t need other’s approval. As much as I hate being new and not knowing anyone, I am thankful for the viewpoint it is giving me. It makes me want to be more hospitable and welcoming to others in similar situations. When I feel discouraged, I remember I am known and loved by Someone who will always be with me. And knowing I am loved unconditionally fills me with courage I could never have on my own.