Andrew and I moved here knowing next to nobody. If we want to have community and also reach people for Jesus, we have to reach out. People aren't going to just become friends with me or us for no reason. No one in close community probably even knows we exist. I've learned in this generation and time of technology how important reaching out and just talking to people is. I mean seriously some people get freaked out by real life conversations now and I just think it's hilarious some times. It's so easy to hide behind our tiny phones and computers and output out opinions and thoughts. However, in person your statements become so much more vulnerable.
I have become so much more vulnerable moving to Washington. It was almost like a fresh start and it's expected people are going to ask me questions about my life that so many people back in California just knew. I've learned to become even more of an open person and become a better listener. I'm surrounded by a new environment and new people that requires me to listen more so that I can get to know my community. Vulnerability is a trait that I think is taking a back seat in so many peoples lives. Also, listening and actually caring for the people in your life has been excused by the word busy. We're all so "busy" and don't carve out time for each other anymore.
I've learned in this past year that being vulnerable and not listening can really cause some damage in relationships and friendships. Now being vulnerable is not a bad thing but it can hurt when the person you're telling things to doesn't respond the way you expect or is to busy to be there for you. I know I have totally messed up in this area. I expect people to listen to me but then when they come to me I flip the coin. I've hurt people and had relationships and friendships change because of it. It's all taught me something though. That being vulnerable is okay even if you get a rejected response. It means you're growing and allowing trust to happen even if the person responds differently than you expected. I'm definitely not saying to share your personal buisness with every human soul, there is such thing as over sharing, but I think we need to stop being so afraid to open up to the people who care about us in our lives. I know I've opened up and it totally back fired in my face. Friendships I thought I would have forever faded in almost a matter of weeks. Friendships I thought had no reconciliation eventually did and apologies were able to be made even if the friendship was then different. Now I've opened up to a new community of friends and my circles have also shifted as my life shifted. I now know this is all okay and I have embraced the friendships I have now and the ones I've had to let go. I've tried my best to reconcile with the people in my life that have needed it and given space to the ones that reconciltion may or may not come. It is all okay and that was something I thought for a long time was not okay!
God has changed the way I look at people. We're all busy, we've all got something going on but it doesn't mean we can't be there for people. It doesn't mean it's not okay to say this is all I can give you right now but I'm here. Opening up to the community around you and not limiting the people you allow in your life will change the way you look at people. At least for me it has. I look at people and see stories, experiences and a chance to get to know someone I may call friend.
Community is important and I don't think I realized that until I was in a completely new one. I encourage you to reach out to people, share your story and make peace with people in your life. It's not easy but everyone has something on their plates.
( I had to include at least one picture of the cat!)