Fitting In

Disclaimer: I’m gonna get kind of introspective here. I want to make it clear that nothing that’s written below is a reflection on any of the people around me. This post is just about me and something I’m struggling with these days.

I’ve gone through a number of fairly major changes in the last couple of months. I left a job that I loved and had been working in for two years. I moved out of the Green House. Okay… looking back at this paragraph, those are only two things. But they’re two very big things. A job change and a move happening within a week of each other is stressful.

But I’ve already written about all that. This is more about dealing with the aftermath. Because those changes have left me questioning my place in my community and wondering about the status of relationships that I believed to be solid and probably took for granted.

Mostly, it’s the relationships.

Because I was on staff at the church that I still attend, I can’t help but feel a little weird now. The people I worked with and saw every day, they were my social network. They were my friends. They were my family. Now, I’m not seeing them every day. I still see them on Sundays when I get to church, but it’s so different now.

When I was on staff, Sunday was a work day. So for all my friends that make up the church staff, being at church is still work. It’s not like I can just hang out with my friends while they’re working… setting up… tearing down… connecting with visitors… preaching… leading worship… Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get used to returning to a role of church membership, rather than church staff.

As much as I loved and miss my job with the church, I miss my friends more.

There is a specific ministry at the church that I could technically fit into. It’s aimed at graduate students and young professionals and, for lack of a better description, is what a lot of other churches would consider a singles ministry. But there are two words in that last sentence that tell me I don’t really fit in that group: students and young. I’m not a student of the graduate variety. And while I could be considered a professional, I’m not young.

Okay, 38 isn’t exactly old. But when the majority of the demographic in group is about 12 to 15 years younger than me, I sure feel old. I learned not long after I began working for the church that I didn’t much fit in with that crew anymore. I’m not totally certain what it is that makes me an outcast. Through conversations with a number of folks, it’s clear I don’t have much in common with them.

Let me say this, though: no one has made me to feel as if I’m an outcast. I’ve never not felt welcome. I just… don’t fit.

I have other friends outside of church. But they’re spread out all over. I never see them. We rarely speak. And, yes, I’m in a new job now and I have no doubt that friendships will form in time. But for now, I’m just left in this funk of not knowing how exactly to find my place in all of this.

As an introvert, I’m perfectly okay with spending the vast majority of my free time sitting alone with a good book or binge watching Friends. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss having the option to hang out with a group of friends from time to time.

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