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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Complacency

We live out in the country. When leaving our house, you drive on a gravel (well, the county calls it gravel, I call it dirt) road for a while, then drive down several small, twisty, narrow country roads to go anywhere. When we first moved here, I drove quite slowly down those roads, being very careful of the turns coming up and watching closely for any wildlife that might jump in front of us at any given moment. I noticed the other day, that I don't drive the same now as I did when we moved here. I drive faster than before. I still watch for animals, but probably not as carefully. I have become complacent.

I realized that complacency is not only a problem in my driving. It is a problem in my life overall.

When we lived in the metroplex, we attended a large church. It took several years and a lot of effort before we started developing relationships with anyone who wasn't very close to the same age as we were. Yes, the church really was that big...the membership there is close to the same size as the town we now live near. With such a large church, we had plenty of friends to hang out with, to eat with, to do life with. We didn't have to look outside our church to have relationships...and for the most part we didn't. We were close to our former next door neighbors...but all the rest of our "non-church" relationships...from our neighborhood, work and biking, were superficial. We said hi, we checked in, and would help out if needed, but we didn't really know each other. We saved the really knowing each other for a very few of our "church" relationships. We were complacent.

Now we live somewhere much smaller. Our church is much smaller. We have to seek relationships outside the church, as well as within, in order to meet our needs for relationships with others. And that's the way it should be. We cannot be ambassadors, we cannot be missionaries, we cannot show God's love to those who don't know it, if we never develop relationships outside the walls of our church building.

I started writing this nearly three months ago and just came back to it today, planning to finish it up in gratitude to God for bringing us to a place where we were forced out of our complacency. We have met some wonderful people and I have started developing new friendships at our church. I have been able to watch my daughter blossom as she becomes confident in the smaller size of our new church. I am still grateful.

But I also realized that I am becoming complacent again. No, I don't know very many people in our new town, and the ones I do know are all at our church, just like before. Yes, I feel lonely a lot. Yes, I want to meet more people, to make more friends, to feel like this is where I belong. But I am starting to get used to seeing only my family for days on end. I am starting to get used to the phone being silent. I am starting to get used to feeling lonely, and brushing it aside, saying that it doesn't matter.

I say that things will be better once our house is built and we move to town because then we will have neighbors close by and it will be easier to meet people and make new friends. But I wonder if that is really true. Maybe it is. Maybe things will be better. Maybe they won't, because maybe it's really about me and not about my circumstances at all.

I realize now that this is something that I need to change. I hope that in recognizing it, I can fight against my tendency toward complacency.

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