by Meghan Orr, Focus Group Leader
We moved from the Chicago Suburbs to Houston two and a half years ago. The hardest part of our decision to move, was leaving a community that literally took 15 years for us to build.
Building meaningful, enjoyable, and trustworthy relationships is not easy. There are so many things that make it hard. Starting off, there is the question you might find yourself asking when you meet a new person: “Will we be able to connect? Can I be authentic with this person? Is this person someone I can laugh with and also be able to connect with on a deeper level?”
The community we had in Chicago had been built through 15 years on Young Life Staff in our community, neighbors who were raising our kids together, my husband’s friends from college, our church family, and everything else in between. I knew when we moved to Houston that nothing could replace those relationships. We also knew that relationships are only built and grown through time spent together.
Since we have lived here in Houston, there have been several ways that I have started to see that community slowly growing. City Church was one of our first connecting points here in Houston. We/I was committed to being at church on Sundays and showing up to our small group (Braes Heights) as much as possible. City Church has been a soft spot in our Houston experience, and as I have continued to invest myself there, I have felt relationships growing. The more I show up and the more time I invest, the more connected I feel.
It can be as simple as staying a few extra minutes after the service is over to say “Hi” to someone. It can be rolling down your window when you pass a neighbor on the street to ask how their weekend was. It can be texting someone from your small group to see if they would like to get coffee or lunch. It’s hard and uncomfortable to show up places when you don’t really know anyone. It’s honestly something that I try to avoid. After 41 years of life, however, I’ve learned that showing up like that is one of the only ways to build community. I regularly push myself to do this at church, in our neighborhood, at my kids’ schools, and at my husband’s work events.
There have also been times when I have been frustrated to the point of tears that community wasn’t developing as fast as I wanted. But that is like planting a seed and looking at the dirt and crying because the plant hadn’t already sprouted, grown, and flowered. God has had to remind me many times over the past two and a half years that meaningful relationships take time. I need to be patient and trust Him. God cares about my relational needs, and he will meet me in those places. God cares about your relational needs as well, and he will meet you in those places ,too.