6 years of Houston: Adapting to a new Community

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Moving to a new community can be challenging unless you understand it involves a three-step process including Transition, Adaptation and Discovery. I believe the first two steps are challenging but they are a necessary in order for Discovery to happen. Transition is the between space where you not where you need to be just yet. Transition is difficult, painful and it can be isolating. Once you arrive at your new destination, Adaptation takes place. Observation and learning go hand in hand as you become familiar with your new normal. The ties with your old space are still strong but you learn to let go of the old to welcome the new. Discovery is that joyous space where you learn about all the good stuff that was waiting for you while you were transitioning. I wish we all could shorten the stages that leads us to Discovery but everyone experiences the three-step process differently.

My family and I have experienced this process in the last 6 years. Two years ago I wrote that “having a church home and finding community are two different things.” The lesson in this statement has made my journey rich as I find myself in transition again.

We moved to Houston because of my husband’s job who happens to be at a church. I can say the experience was not new. When I finished my Masters Degree, I moved to a new place and I started looking for a church home. I must have visited a handful of places when I landed at the place God had prepared for me. Finding that church was a different experience than finding community. Community is a large body of people living in an area. The church exists in the community. Finding community during that time meant meeting people outside of church. That’s when I found bloggers, artists and all kinds of friends who were not part of my church.

My husband’s job happened to be at a church so finding a church home was a no-brainer when we moved to Texas. I thought that church and community were the same thing but I started to suffer because I only saw my church family twice a week. I needed friendship during the other 5 days of the week. I started to see community as an important place to be explored and nurtured.

I learned that most of my church friends were working moms while I was a stay-at-home mom. I put some effort into looking to my community to supply me with moms who had the same schedule as myself. I looked to my community for blogger friends, I also found my marathon training group besides other connections. If you have been in church since you were a fetus (that's me folks), it's hard to believe that there are great people outside of the church. I'm here to tell you there are excellent folks out there.

I found community and the community has nurtured me in many ways. I learned that a church home cannot supply all of my social needs. Life is more compelling when I stop expecting the church to be my everything and I welcome community as part of my life.

My Lord and Savior functioned the same way. I choose to think that He could have chosen to stay in the synagogue all day every day but He went around doing good. In order to go around, one must move out of where they are. That’s what I have chosen to do for the past 6 years.

I told you that Transition can feel isolating and I had the temptation to cave in to that feeling. I remember falling asleep looking at Pinterest, who was a close friend of mine for a good 4 months. Once I found community I had actual people to talk to during the day, playdates and blogger meetups to attend. It is tempting to stick with digital friendships when you feel isolated but having real people to talk to brings refreshment. The key is to keep pursuing community.

I have learned that community does not discriminate between introverts and extroverts. Please don’t use your personality as an excuse not to reach out. You are welcome just as you are somewhere.

Life is richer when you understand that having a church home and finding community are two different things. You become a better person when you press on, despite the challenges of the three-step process, and find yourself with a home church while deeply rooted in community.

More in this Series:
• Isolation