So I'd like to think we're finally somewhat settled in Cape Town since our recent move from Joziburg. It took a little longer than I thought it would. You see, I made the mistake of thinking everything would go back to the way it used to be. Same house, same workplace, same church. It only made sense. Boy, was I wrong! And so were many around us.
Don't get me wrong. This move back to the Mother City has been the best thing for our family of five. It's been awesome watching our little ladies running around the yard and having the space to wear out their endless energy! I'm so thankful for our tenants who treated our home like their own. It's still in a great state, as if we never left. We've been enjoying reminiscing about things we used to do before and planning to do things we realise we overlooked before. It's truly been an amazing time.
So it came as a bit of a shock for my system when I realized that a lot has also changed. Firstly, a lot of close friends moved out of Cape Town round about the same time as we did. So being back has felt so different. The relationships with the few close friends we have are being reestablished somewhat. People have grown - just as we have. Our dreams and aspirations aren't the same anymore so it's like starting over in getting to know each other. The circle has also grown much smaller - which isn't really a bad thing. I quite appreciate knowing who my people are but I'm definitely open to new people that the Lord brings my way, for His glory. Secondly, church dynamics have changed. I never thought the day would come when I didn't feel at home at our church. Every week I've felt like putting up my hand when they ask who the first time visitors are. Some of the people who we left behind just assumed we'd slot right in to what we did before we left. They have been quite surprised that we're not quite on the same page. So have we, to be honest.
Work has a similar atmosphere. I see how people constantly try to figure out if I'll react to them the way I did before or not. Some have quickly come to learn that I'm a whole new league of different. Boundaries aren't fuzzy. I'm absolutely clear about what I'll tolerate and dismiss. Some like the change. Some don't know how to deal with it. My advice: JBS. I've always been family-orientated but I'm definitely more vocal about it, and I often see how that irks people who put their careers before family. Do you and let me do me.
*As I prayerfully continue to trust God for the daily grace to balance family and my career*
One of the things I keep reflecting on lately is how many relationships I didn't invest in enough when we were in Jo'burg. Relationships that God kept ushering me towards. I was too busy trying to nurse and build on the ones that weren't fruitful. So now, in this new season, I'm all for God relationships. The older I get, the more I acknowledge and accept and enjoy that my circle gets smaller. The mission to love God and love people hasn't changed. I'm just at a point of realising that there are certain relationships that are for me to pursue as others that are for my fellow believers to engage in. And it's okay with me. I'm a relational person at heart so it hurts deeply when I keep reaching out to people who keep me at arm's length. However, instead of fretting over that, I'd rather invest in the ones that are seeking me out. I've come to learn that most times, those are the ones sent by God for their good - and mine.
Yesterday I was driving behind a driving school vehicle - during a lesson. I deliberately kept at a distance. Perhaps because I didn't any mistake the learner could make to affect me (I could tell he was a new learner). But mostly, I kept my distance because I never forget my season of learning years ago. When I'd freak out when experienced drivers hooted because I was taking too long at a 4-way stop. When I'd stall in the middle of an intersection. Because I was still learning. So I kept my distance. The driver directly behind me kept hooting because he was impatient. He didn't care that there was a learner in front of us - yes, he also saw the big board on top of the car.
I've rambled a bit, but I have a point to make. Remember your past seasons - your milestones - and you will be more understanding when people go through their seasons. Be slow to judge or criticise. You don't know what others are going through. I've come across a few posts and blogs criticising the 'Love your spouse challenge'. People out here saying they can't in good faith join the challenge because the reality is that marriages aren't perfect. That's true. Marriages aren't perfect. That's EXACTLY why we need to add some positivity into our marriages. Not because we're pretending they're perfect, but because we're declaring that no matter the storms, we continue to choose our spouse. So don't do it if you don't want to, but don't tarnish the ones who are bravely declaring their love for their spouses. I, for one, can openly say that our marriage is far from perfect. We disagree and argue and are selfish and insensitive to each other at times - just like any other couple. That's why I pray daily for our marriage. I read stories of couples that have been married for 40+ years and I pray we'll also get there. I'm definitely not naive to the fact that these couples have fought long and hard to stay together. The devil's already on a mission to discredit solid, godly relationships. He doesn't need my help in spreading doom and gloom.
Keep that negativity THERE. Far from me.
So this is me. New season. New mindset. Ready. Willing. Lord, have Your way.