Sometimes it’s good to be on the other side of things. To go from the one surrounded by friends to the one standing alone without any. To shift from the one whose surroundings are familiar to the one who feels lost in the maze.
This has been my experience lately. Joining a new church. Starting a new ministry. Investing in friendships I had only toyed with before.
Stepping into new territory. Weaving my way through the crowd, hoping to find the place I’m meant to be.
It takes bravery to enter the unknown, even when the unknown is full of promise and hope.
It takes determination to wade through the not-so-fun parts, especially when the best parts seem so far from reach.
It takes resolve to not give up when things don’t go as well as you’d planned or as easily as you’d hoped. And to keep walking. And stretching. And searching.
Until finally, you either know you’ve arrived, or you make peace with the fact that you’re at least on the right track. And then, you keep moving forward.
Breaking through walls.
Climbing over obstacles.
Refusing to give up.
One thing I’ve noticed on this quest to new places – most people are just as hesitant about your inclusion as you are. They see you from afar, but quickly avert their attention to relationships that feel more familiar and comfortable.
I’ve been that person, too. We’ve all been guilty of fading back into “familiar” without giving “new” the chance it deserves.
We get comfortable with where we are and forget the bravery it took to reach that level of comfort. The day in and day out efforts exuded in showing up, and not only showing up, but stepping up. Not allowing ourselves to merely be spectators, but to have held on to our bravery long enough to become active participants.
May we not lose sight of those who haven’t arrived at where we are; those who are still making their way into our familiar places; those who are longing for the day when our familiar places become familiar to them, too.
May we be the ones who not only say hello to those standing alone, but who also engage newcomers in thoughtful conversation. It’s such a small act, yet it’s one that says, “You, new friend, are worth every bit of time, effort, and discomfort it takes to make you feel included.”
May we be the ones who go out of our way to spot the newbies, chase them down, and make them feel welcome.
In the church. In the school. In the workplace. And everywhere else in between.
What one person can you reach out to this week? How will you choose to reach out to that person? Will you send a card or text? Will you invite that person to sit with you during a church service or ball game? Or, if you’re feeling really brave, how about extending an invitation for coffee or lunch? Whatever you choose, chances are you’ll both leave more encouraged than when you arrived.
I would love if you’d share in the comments how you plan to fulfill this challenge. 💜 #sayhello #reachyourone #encourageoneanother