It’s been six weeks. We loaded up our moving truck with the help of our youth group boys, took nursery buddy pictures with Leland’s little friends, woke up early with bags full of snacks and coloring books, and drove for over eight hours to begin our latest adventure. We arrived in a new state, for a new job, to start a new life together, in a place where we knew no one.
And friends, it has been so good!
(Side note right here. When you feel God calling you somewhere, go. Just do it. There is so much peace and so much blessing that God gives when you are seeking to do what He wants, and you follow where He’s leading!)
It’s been a weird adjustment. We have no grandparents or aunts and uncles to be built-in babysitters. We’re still learning what we like to do when we have an afternoon off. We are constantly looking for people who might be new friends. We’re still figuring out what types of ministry we’ll get involved with. We have to look up where almost everything is on Google Maps.
But already there have been plenty of healthy changes, areas we have been forced to get out of our comfort zones, and ways we have grown.
Here are five things I’ve been learning over the course of the last six weeks:
1. Almost everyone is looking for a friend.
As “the new kid” I think we often assume that everyone else already has their posse, their people, their routines, and has all of their needs met in the friend department. We think that we’re the only ones a little desperate for relationship and in need of a friend or two. But that just doesn’t seem to be the case. People need someone who is willing to invest in them, look them in the eyes, and care about what is going on in their heart. Not just the new kids. Everyone has that need. And almost everyone would very gladly take someone else into their life that genuinely cares about them and wants a relationship with them.
2. Family is who you make it.
With all of our blood family 500 miles away or more, we have had to dig in deep to find those that we can call our people. Who are we going to turn to when we need help? When we’re bored and looking for someone to hang out with? When we need advice? When we want to go on an adventure and try something new? People who don’t have family around seem to look for the people who will function as their family. Adopted grandmas and grandpas, fun friends that act like aunts and uncles, pastors and older couples that we know we can go to when we need a listening ear and a word of wisdom. That is one of the biggest blessings I have come to appreciate about the Church. You get to have family wherever you go.
3. Video calls are the best.
As awesome as it has been to begin finding our tribe here, there is something great about getting to see and hear from your people back where you came from. The people you’re comfortable with. The ones who have years and years of relationship with you, who know all your junk and love you anyway. Those you can just sit with and the silence isn’t weird. There’s just something about hearing someone’s voice, seeing their pixel-y face, and knowing you haven’t been forgotten and haven’t stopped being important to someone. Those little pieces of familiar amidst all of the unknown. They encourage you to keep going.
4. Life is a little about circumstance and a lot about how you respond to circumstance.
Almost every situation is a mixed bag. There are positives and negatives, pros and cons, good and bad. The question becomes What are we going to make of it? Which will we choose to dwell on and which will we look at most often? Lubbock is kind of windy and hot. It’s flat with no mountains or beach. We don’t know our way around. We have spent a couple weekends just hanging out at our house because we don’t know what there is to do. But it’s a college town (heaven for an extrovert who likes youth and young adult ministry). There is every store I could want within 10 minutes of our house (heaven for a city girl). My husband is happy with his new job and sees it taking him where he wants to go. We will be able to afford a house soon to begin making our own and raising our family in. We have found a church where we have been loved and embraced, that we will be able to come alongside to meet needs in the body and serve Jesus. All of these things are true, but it makes things much better when I’m choosing to dwell on the good things God has blessed us with here.
5. Things are less awkward when you just embrace the awkward.
Just about every situation I find myself in feels a little uncomfortable. Everything is new and different, and I don’t have my “normal” yet. I could just sit here twiddling my thumbs, but then I feel awkward and the people around me can feel I feel awkward. And it’s just awkward, you know? It’s so much better to take the initiative, embrace the awkward, and just go for it. Say hi. Introduce yourself. Invite someone over. Strike up a conversation. It’s easy to start being inwardly focused on how I feel, how I’m the new person, how someone should come say hi to me if they really care….but friends, we should always be outward focused. How can we focus on others? Who else is feeling a little left out? Who else has a little one that I could small talk with and give a “I feel you, girl” look when her toddler starts being fussy just like mine was last week? Look for who you can be reaching out to, and embrace the awkward. Make someone else feel comfortable in the midst of your discomfort. It goes a long way.