I am a stranger here.
Here in this big city where the subway rumbles underneath our feet at the library checkout line. Here where the buses squeal and moan and heave. Here in this generous city of wide embrace for people of every language and culture.
Only recently did my husband and I trade our predictable suburban conveniences for the thriving pulse of the city. We left the suburbs of Chicago and moved our family to the heart of Toronto. With our brood of five young children, we are a noisy and conspicuous herd in this urban landscape.
I’m a suburban girl, trying on these urban shoes for size. I feel their awkwardness and my clumsiness as I pay for parking, ride public transit, even grocery shop. Stripped of my armor of familiarity, I’m a puddle of fears and self-doubt.
It’s not just parking that muddles me. It’s the people. Conversations leave me wondering if the first impression was good enough, and will they call?
For all the anxiety that new situations create, they can also become an invitation towards greater risk, surrender, and ultimately growth.
Here are some lessons I’m learning from being “new:”
- Listen. Whether you’re starting a new job, moving to a new city, or you’re simply new to marriage or motherhood, there’s a steep learning curve. Admit what you don’t know, and find someone willing to entertain and answer your hardest and silliest questions.
- Reflect. New situations rattle our sense of identity. Spend time prayerfully reflecting on questions like, “What is my unique calling?” and “What are my unique gifts and convictions?” Ask God to root you deeply in His truth and to protect you from fear and self-doubt.
- Remember. Christ is your constant companion. You’re never really alone, and it’s His Spirit that empowers you to take the risks you’ll need for your new situation. He grants confidence for challenges, grace for failures. His voice steadies us in the wake of uncertainties and disappointments.
What new situations have challenged you recently? How are you learning and growing from being “new?”
By: Jen Michel