As I approach the end of my second week as a resident of Bellflower. I am realizing some things.
Transition is hard. (No brain-er)
I find myself having to adjust from not being a few minutes away from family. A new environment. Being the 'new kid on the block', feeling like a fish swimming against the current, etc. Pushing past the initial awkwardness and trying to slowly build relationships with my new neighbors. All this while trying to balance personal relationships and work (or lack there of).
This is MY community
About a week ago, I had the pleasure of doing Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) training with CityNet, another non-profit who are connected to KCB. The one thing that I took away from it is this:
'Community Development is not about doing it for people, its about doing it WITH people.'
So simple, yet it resonates deeply. I am learning to have ownership of my new community. These are my neighbors. And I am now a part of the process of being woven into it. This excites me. It motivates me.
I have been crazy busy. But I am excited to share that slowly but surely I am building relationships with my neighbors.
It has been difficult to make the first initial steps of saying hello and making small talk. If you know me well enough, you know that even though I am very people-oriented and thrive in environments with others, I initially am terribly nervous and a bit awkward when it comes to meeting new people. Some have told me this is endearing, but I fear they are wrong. :P
But once again I am reminded that this awkwardness is okay. It's another chance for me to rely on Christ for boldness!
I am reminded of when I was a RA at Biola. My palms would get so sweaty and my mouth would become so dry when I thought of approaching a new resident. But I overcame this fear in time and PUSHED myself.
When I look back at that experience I can't help but laugh and see how God pushed me to be bold.
Well here I am again. Palms sweaty. Mouth dry.
Who knows maybe I will look back and laugh at my nervousness once again!
I do have an interesting story to share.
This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of volunteering with a local church that puts on a weekly breakfast for the local homeless community.
I have helped with these type of events in the past. But what made this so different was that instead of being in the background, serving the poor. I was sitting alongside them sharing a meal and sharing our lives together.
As I began to talk to people. The nervousness crept up. My insecurities in my own abilities to interact with people grew as I would hear of the stories of what life was really like on the street, the hopelessness and jadedness that was apparent in their words and faces.
I too began to feel discouraged and jaded. I did not know the words to respond to this.
I began to to think, 'This is so hard. Why am I here?' I am not equipped.'
I realized that I needed to shut up and ask God for strength. Turn off the negative voices and just LISTEN to the words and stop trying to come up with comforting words or whatever.
When I stopped and listened and allowed the spirit to work through me, things fell into place.
I had a amazing conversation with a man, about early 30's. It was strange, our conversation started with him asking me if I have ever gotten high. (Again, I do not know how it got there!), slowly from there we talked about his time in jail and then I found about his children and how he has had trouble finding work.
We talked for awhile before he left. And he left me with this:
'Will I see you next, week?'
Pushing myself to be intentional with all the new people in my life. To not be discouraged by the awkwardness or the initial differences that we may have. To not let my insecurities (lies from the enemy!!) get in the way of loving others well. Be bold. Be confident.
Trusting/Relying on Lord for Strength
This week has been a difficult one for me personally. Please pray that I will be obedient in the Spirit for the difficult things I have been processing and find true joy and comfort in his love alone. That as much as I am investing in others, that I in turn will let others invest in and love me. RECEIVE. RECEIVE. RECEIVE.
Thank you friends! :)