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  • Katie Smith

New Kids on the Block

Being the "new kid on the block" can feel like your a shiny new toy-- fresh, fun, and fairly mysterious. No one knows your full potential or your annoying habits. Fast forward and too much time with a single individual, and you are likely to experience a cold outer shell towards him or her at least once or twice, forgetting the soft, fresh affection you first felt. That's probably why Proverb 25:17 advises, "Seldom set foot in your neighbor's house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you."  

Even still, we are finding that always being the "new kid on the block" has serious drawbacks. The "getting to know you" conversations get old. It's like going on a first date over and over again, or attending the annual company picnic and repeating small talking points fifty times. Being the new kid every other week kind of exhausts, isolates and excludes you.

Kids, though, seem to have an easier time with it. RV kids, especially, learn how to introduce themselves, invite themselves, and insert themselves quickly into any situation. Adults, though, have been trained to look before leaping. We hesitate to show all our cards. Our past relational burns, cause timidity. Kids, specifically boys, just jump in without considering anything.

Thus, road-living for a lone female gets a bit lonely at times, but I think it's a good and necessary part of the journey. I'm in my Arabia right now.... "[Paul] did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before [him], but [he] went into Arabia. Then after three years, [he] went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. Then after fourteen years, [he] went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas and Titus also" (Galatians 1:17-18, 2:1 emphasis added). So it was 17 years before Paul had any real travel companions.

I think, like Paul, I'm learning to find great companionship with not only my immediate family, but also my creator. God revealed himself to Paul and then sent him to a lonely desert to really get deep with him. Likewise the disciples walked lonely paths before starting their full-time ministries. Jesus himself went to a lonely desert before delving into any real fellowship with others. God does the same for us today. We must get alone in order to really hear Him speak. Otherwise, the whispering contradictions drown His steady voice and peace.

My flesh causes me to vacillate when it comes to loving others. I'm quick to second guess, question, or alter my convictions if I have not spent enough time alone with God. Our global connection contrasts our ability to lead a "quiet life and mind our business." (1 Thes. 4:11) We are always thinking of the next "post" or next "move" we can make.

"Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ (Ephesians 4:13-15).

We can't rush maturity. I've tried and failed to do that with our oldest. Maturity, unity, and fullness take time. It's hard, but it's worth it. Once I name the loneliness for what it is, then I realize God has never left me alone. He is always right there passionately pursuing me, giving me all I need to tackle what's before me. His voice is so comforting that I can't help but feel peace even if I'm the new kid on the block again.

~Connecting Carefully and Carelessly

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