[Guest Post by Marie Osborne] – I survived my 20s by moving over and over and over again.
In 2004, I was married to my best friend and at an amazing church. We had a fantastic support system of friends and family. The next 3 years, my job just kept getting better, our friendships deeper, our family closer, and our marriage stronger.
Then in 2006, we decided my husband should go back to school. So we moved to Los Angeles for two years as he completed his MBA.
Suddenly, our deep roots were gone, and I didn’t know a soul.
I had worked hard for 6 years to build an impeccable reputation in ministry. But with no college degree, most churches wouldn’t be interested in a stranger. Thus, I started my life in L.A. no friends, having left my ministry career forever.
Two years later, my world was so different.
I had an awesome job at another amazing church. We had another fantastic group of friends, and we were only a couple hours’ drive from family! I prayed that we could stay in L.A., but with his new job came another move, this time to Peoria, Illinois.
Again, I was ripped from a loving community, and this time family and friends weren’t within driving distance.
The pattern repeated. I didn’t know a soul.
I wondered if I would ever work in ministry again.
After nearly 2 years in Peoria, I found myself in an eerily similar situation. Great job. Amazing church. Awesome friends. And now a baby.
That baby made us long for family, so we began discussing another move.
God had it all worked out.
We were back in San Diego in 4 weeks. Thinking about it makes my head spin. I can see His work now, but during each transition, it was just plain hard.
God has changed me through these moves. He’s given me a different approach to happiness.
6 years ago happiness was a reaction to pleasant circumstances. Now, He’s taught me to choose happiness.
When my husband asked how I felt about moving to Illinois, so far away from our family and friends, my response was surprising, especially to me.
“We have two choices: Stay in California and be happy. Or move to Illinois and be happy.”
There was no third option, to move and be miserable. We would bring happiness with us, no matter where we were.
Building friendships takes time and proximity.
My best friend in LA really knew my soul when we left in 2009, and my best friend in Illinois knew me just as well in 2011. In each case it took about a year of almost daily interaction, conversation, authenticity and transparency to get that close.
I have a baby now.
He limits my schedule, so I can’t build that kind of friendship as quickly as I used to. Even though I’m “home,” I still struggle to feel known and grow the roots of my community. I can’t speed up the process. Just water those roots and wait for them to grow.
In the last 6 years, I’ve had to start over 3 times, jumping head first into the work of building friendships and community.
Is it lonely and difficult?
Extremely lonely and excruciatingly difficult.
But I’m better for it.
I’ve learned to quit my yappin’ and make things happen.
Get out there.
Find a church.
Force myself on some friends.
Research good restaurants.
Visit used bookstores, farmers markets, and local festivals.
Lean on my husband.
Make sweet memories, laughing over dinner and falling even more in love with him because we don’t have anywhere else to go.
At the end of my 20s, I’ve started over and over and over.
I’m still in the midst of building a new life, again. But now I know where happiness dwells. Everywhere my Lord is, which is… everywhere. And if I want a good attitude about my circumstances, I need to ask Him to continue to grow self-control in me, so I can choose the right attitude and leave the wrong one in my 20’s.
Marie is a blogger and homemaker, married to her best friend, and mama to an amazing baby boy. She loves bringing children closer to Christ through creative, interactive teaching and worship. She’s passionate about equipping others as leaders and servants for Christ in the church. You can read her thoughts on these topics and more on her blog, Marie Osborne. Most of all, she laughs a lot and rather loudly, mostly at herself.