The Process of Change

Things take time.

When I left Sydney in July, and then moved into this house in late September, I knew settling in would not be a quick process.

The move itself was fairly smooth (all things considered) though the mental energy spent trying to get used to it all took a lot out of me. For a while I was focused only on the tasks I needed to get done. On my to-do list I wrote down everything, from brushing my teeth to getting dressed in the morning. I didn’t have the capacity to keep it all in my head and needed the act of crossing each task off. It took a couple of months before I was ready to stop doing this. Amidst learning a new job, I simply didn’t have the mental space to keep track of everything.

At that stage I knew I needed to make friends, but I felt incapable of it. I didn’t have the emotional energy. I felt drained, burnt out on relationships (is this a thing?), and unable to give to anything other than work. Going to church felt like an uphill battle. I knew things would turn out okay and that I would get there, I just had no idea what that looked like or how long it would take.

I remember when I came to the clearing.

Work was easier and relating to people there felt more comfortable. I had moved into this house and felt physically settled. I no longer had a long list of tasks to complete everyday – from the ordinary “cook dinner” to the more difficult “buy a dining table”. There was a rhythm and a sense of being here to stay. I woke every morning and looked around my house with joy. I didn’t need to use a GPS to get around; it’s a wonderful feeling when you begin to understand how suburbs fit together, how different streets are connected.

My heart was settled. I wasn’t sad or overwhelmed anymore. I knew I was ready to start connecting and investing.

I was still nervous driving to church and wondering whether I would find someone to sit next to. There were still days when I would cry because I felt disheartened and alone. But you have to keep showing up. What kept me going again and again was thinking, I don’t want to be in this place, emotionally, in six months. I didn’t want to wake up this time in a year and still feel lonely and discouraged. You have to push past the awkwardness, the loneliness. I felt God calling me to this job, this house, and this church. And if He wants me here, I have to show up. He knows I need community, which means there is one if I look for it.

I spent so long in Sydney feeling like I didn’t fit. I thought if I got married, finding a community would naturally follow. (Spoiler alert, I didn’t get married and I didn’t feel like I belonged.)

Last week I went to a couple of social events. Before the first one I prayed Lord, please let the process of connecting and making friends be quick.

It was only when I was driving home after that first event that I praised God He did not bypass the slightly-awkward-at-times moments of meeting people and finding my feet. Because, as it turns out, beauty can be found in that space.

I met so many friendly people and I did not feel excluded. There were a few that I connected with more and was able to laugh with and also be honest with. There was so much goodness in this getting-to-know stage. I no longer want to miss this part.

There is something fun in hearing someone’s dry sense of humour for the first time. Of being surprised by their hobbies or childhood. And vice versa! It’s exciting and beautiful to surprise people with your own thoughts and experiences. Learning about new people is good. Sharing your heart is good.

To think I wanted to skip this part is sad. And I say that from a place of having days when I would leave church and cry. When I would drive home from work and feel more alone than ever. I have known all these things. But I have also found something precious and hopeful.

I am not saying it will be easy from now on. I have to keep showing up. I still need to walk into church alone, hoping to find someone I recognise. Hoping they recognise me! I do not have the closeness that they have with each other. One week of socialising does not equal a friendship of five years. But I am thankful for the opportunity to see where these friendships go.

I believe I am here to stay. I believe my job and this church are where I can truly give and be fed. I feel at home, even when it is difficult.

The process of change has so many ups and downs. Things to learn, things to let go of. I am learning not to judge. I am learning to be honest and authentic, finding people I can trust. To maintain a deep friendship takes time, but I am here for all of it. I am here to stay.

Sarah xx

2 thoughts on “The Process of Change

  1. hello! I am so glad you’re starting to settle in now and feel at home. ❤️ your words are like a little warm hug to me rn, because soon I’ll be going through the same thing- looking for new community at my church, too! I was dreading the uncomfortable moments outside my comfort zone. 😅 but, seems like it will be so worth it. thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

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