This is a 31 day series on Intentional Friendship with the exception of WIWWednesday and Foodie Fridays. To not miss a post you can find my directory here. Others that have joined the Nester as I have are all listed here for your reading fix. Or you can click the link on the sidebar. Check them out! There are some super great reads over there!
Moving Out From Comfort
Intentional friendship is something that I had to cultivate, especially in the last 5 years. All my life I had no problem making friends. I had a good amount of friends and all sorts of varieties. I never questioned how to be a friend. When I was 26, I moved to Texas to continue College and my serious dating relationship. Texas and Pennsylvania ARE two completely different countries! Amen and Amen.
The friends I thought would ‘just happen’ when I moved did the exact opposite. Yes, we clashed. And for the first time EVER I was left wondering what the heck was wrong with me. I knew I wasn’t prefect but the normal way I related to others was so drastically different and so not working here. I found myself at every social engagement questioning everything I said, everything I did, my clothes, my facial expressions, and even my laugh. I was just a huge insecure HOT MESS!
Fast forward 5 years to today, I have friends here now. For the most part I would say I ‘fit in’. But I still have ‘those days’ when I just want to be close to my family and my roads and towns and stores. I like it here, in Texas. I have dreams and plans here. I have my little life that for the most part suits me. I do still yearn to move closer to a bigger town/city someday as we live out in the wide open country, though not necessarily Penn. For now this is where we are and I’ve learned to find contentment, for the most part – I still feel like I have to say that because I can’t honestly say I have ARRIVED and feel like I’ve always lived here, fit completely in and know how to communicate even at the local grocery store.
Because of my story, I’ve begun to think differently about relating and about friends. I’ve thought about my friends back home and what kind of friend I was to them. It’s made me think about what kind of people I gravitate towards. It’s made me think about my besties and what made us tight. What made us click? How did we connect? Did it happen in a day or over time? Because of my difficultly with making friends, I analyzed. so. so. exhaustively. very. much.
Moving away from your comfort zone will invite new soul searching and a fresh crying out to God. Growth and a dependence on God can emerge through a disrupted routine.
I’m not just talking about literally moving but following Gods leading to move into different situations and seasons of life.
My advice? Don’t move? Nah, I wouldn’t say that. God gives us valleys. We can’t escape them. They happen even when you don’t move. So move if God is calling you. God longs to lead us if we let Him. And if you do move away from your comfort zone, mediate on some thoughts God has prompted from my experience.
I’ll share them with you in short nuggets that are easy to digest.
1. Listen to your expectations and then let them go. It’s ok to expect certain things when you move. It’s not ok to hold everybody to your standard of what you expect. Because what if they are expecting something different from you than what you are expecting of yourself? Make sense? Know what you are expecting is going to happen when you move. Tell it to God. But then be ok if what you assume will happen does NOT happen. (We’re talking about relationships and making friends obviously)
2. Pray for others and yourself before getting together. I have found this to be extremely helpful (the few times I’ve remembered) It takes pressure off of yourself to perform or to be what I’m not. It gives me permission to be myself. It allows my heart to rest its insecurities and frees my mind to be fully present.
Communicating with God about what you care and how you feel about means so much to Him and so much more to your relationship with Him.
3. Allow yourself to feel nervous or intimidated by others. What am I saying? Some people intimidate us. They do. What I’m offering is that you recognize it. Recognize in your heart how a particular person if making you feel. In other words, know what you are feeling. Give yourself permission to be intimidated. It’s ok to know you feel that way. Pretending you’re not intimidated or trying to cover up your feelings welcomes Mr. Comparison to the party. And we’ve all sat in that frustration camp, no?
So next time, whisper a prayer between you and God what you’re feeling. Invite God to the party and don’t walk in the intimidation alone.
(I need to read this one 71,894x!)
4. Listen to others. Listen to understand. Listen without trying to fix. It’s in listening and being quite that we hear more. Learn more. Love better. Listen to God’s spirit within you. He’ll tell you when to hush. Just listen.
I pray my words and story are a bit of an encouragement today, wherever you are at on your journey with relationships. I’d love to hear your thoughts!