We passed rows of rundown stores and shops as we drove down the well-worn highway. We made our way into a neighborhood, ripe with older, unmatched homes. They were a far cry from the cookie-cutter homes with identical manicured lawns that I’d often seen in the more bustling parts of town. Still, I loved how each house had its own charm.
We finally turned onto a steep, short driveway and parked the car. With excitement, I opened my door to a cute ranch style home that sat on a hill opposite one of the many culs-de-sac along the street. Inside, the large window in the kitchen gave an open view of every home down that way and proved to be the perfect sitting spot for the cats we would eventually adopt and the perfect backdrop for meals at our dinner table.
My husband bought that home just months before we got married. I imagined eating dinner while watching the sky glow in muted gold and orange as the sun tucked into its heavenly hiding place. I imagined jogging and drifting away with music blaring, motivating me to take the next step. I even imagined playing and going on walks with future children.
But soon after he closed on that house, a burglary changed all that for me. When we moved in, I spent most days sitting in darkened rooms until my husband pulled open the blinds, letting in the sunlight. Avoiding knocks at the door, I shied away from neighbors. I shooed away kids as they played outside. I didn’t do much walking or jogging.
Instead, I made assumptions, generalized, and turned people into stereotypes. I discounted some of the very people God placed in our lives to love and support us. I missed out on opportunities to show those around us the love and the grace we’d been given—because there was so much we received in that house.
We spent six years in that little house on the hill. Now, years after selling it, I hate that I never took advantage of those opportunities to really get to know my neighbors and welcome them into my home. Though I didn’t enjoy some things about my time there and wasn’t always comfortable, I know it was where God called us for that season. We had our first family Thanksgiving in that home, we started our family and became three in that home, and we did so much growing and changing in that home.
Truth is, sometimes God calls us to places where we may be uncomfortable and we have to do the uncomfortable work of making peace with the situation to move forward.
I think it’s easy for fear to get the best of us when we’re uncomfortable. For me, it’s so paralyzing that I retreat and often turn the wrong people into the enemy. In that case, it was well-intentioned neighbors.
It can be so hard to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, but I am so thankful God’s grace covers me in those moments—the moments I’m faced with tough decisions; engaged in tough conversations; or in places where my opinion is unpopular, fitting in seems impossible, or I’ve just been hurt by humanity. God’s grace helps me hush the fear and anxiety so I can open my eyes when others try to show me the light. It helps me see things for what they really are. And it lets me take opportunities to find the good and do the next right thing.