One of the scariest things about leaving home to move anywhere is realizing that life is going to keep happening in your hometown, and you won’t be a part of it. It’s tough. Harder for some than for others.
So how do we deal with this?
1- Console yourself with the fact that there are AWESOME things happening around the world RIGHT NOW that you are not currently a part of. And you don’t even realize it. Because you are (hopefully) pretty happy with what you’ve got going on.
2-God knows you. He knows what you need for social interaction. He knows what your kids need. He knows what is special to you because He MADE you that way! He also knows you might have room for growth and has not guaranteed that we will always get what we think is best.
3-Write down a list of what you are afraid of missing out on if you leave. Things like church, bunco night, current TV shows, traditional family gatherings, playdates at the park. Be as thorough as possible.
4-Then write down what will happen in those groups if you are not there. Just like the movie, It’s a Wonderful LIfe. How will you feel about how those things will continue, without you? Acknowledge your feelings. Even the ugly ones.
5- Grieve those losses. Those things are special to you. Make the most of them while you are still in your home area. But don’t let them define who you are, because you made that life in your home area, and with time, you will be able to make a new life, a new community, new social interactions in your new place. I can pretty much guarantee it won’t happen immediately. But it will happen.
6- Try disconnecting just a little, for practice. (I’m working on this one, too!) Try not checking Facebook for a whole day, and then NOT going back to read all that you missed. See if you can handle it. Is your life going to be altered forever and never recover? Probably not. Because while you were busy NOT checking facebook, you were probably busy doing something else. Likely something more meaningful.
7- Prioritize community when you get to your new place. It’s important, whether you think it is or not. You have not come to serve God by being a single superhero with a Jesus cape on. He had a group of friends. He needed His disciples. He chose them at the beginning of His ministry. Find community. Find a place to play, to have fun. Strike up conversations wherever you can. See if there is an existing local community of people like you, living away from their home country, and make connections. Set playdates. Invite them to your home for a meal, or coffee. Initiate.
8- Start small. It may not be necessary to know all that’s going on and be a part of it. Take it in steps. Find a friend. If you can’t find one, pray for one. We had to do that, and God provided.
9-You will start putting down roots in your new place. And when you go back to your passport country, there will be things you miss. You will never be the same. But don’t be afraid of this. People don’t choose to not have kids because it might be painful. It’s said that “having children is like having parts of your heart walking around outside your body.” Same thing with establishing your home in more than one place. Your heart will be hurt a little when you leave one place, but it will find that beautiful sense of belonging as you land in your new home. It will happen.