by Katie Balla
Over two years ago, brand new to San Diego and knowing hardly a soul, my husband and I found ourselves intensely craving community and friendships. It was intimidating and terrifying to be starting completely over. We found Makers Church and each week we attended gatherings, put our children in Kid’s Ministry, met a few faces here and there, but still hadn’t really created any real relationships. I remember telling my husband that everyone here seemed to be at their “max“ on friendships and that there was no room for us.
In hindsight, I can see now that those were little lies and mistruths trying to take root in our heart—to rob us of the abundant community that was right there in front of us.
Thankfully, we kept pressing on despite that feeling. We got invited to a family picnic that some Makers Church people put together at a local park. Everything inside me told me not to go. It would be so awkward! We wouldn’t know anyone. We would totally look like the weird, new people. We’d have no one to talk to. Who would our kids play with? It’d be much easier to just stay home. – But we knew we had to just go. So we did.
I still remember every feeling from that day years later. We pulled up to a park where every family seemed to know one another except for us. We were clearly ‘the new guys’ and although everyone was gracious and kind, there were many first-time conversations and all that awkward getting-to-know-you stuff. We didn’t leave that day with any instant-BFF’s, but looking back now I can say with absolute certainty that we were beginning the foundation layer for friendships.
That year we just continued to show up. When there were events, gatherings, and opportunities to get to know people, we were there. And we went again and again. Relationships blossomed out of our faithfulness and you know what we discovered? Everyone’s friendship tank was not maxed out. In fact, there were many people just like us, a little bit on the fringes, needing that push to go fully all-in with the mess and beauty of sharing life with one another.
Just a few weeks ago we went back to that same park where it all started with many of the same people from two years ago. Except now, many of those friends feel like family. Our kids all love and play like cousins. My toddler sits on the laps of my friends. We feel safe to share the good, bad and ugly of our lives. And that day I left with a massive smile on my face and joy in my heart because of how far God brought us.
Showing up to summer events and church outings was undoubtedly the foundation for the life-giving friendships we now have and continue to make. A little bit of awkward small talk turned into the depth and beauty that we always prayed for.
My encouragement to you today is to just go. I know it can be awkward the first few times—but go. And show up. And then show up again and again because you are worthy to be seen and to know the depth of love an amazing community can bring. It takes some work but it is oh so worth it.
*Join us at a Summer Event this month and start connecting! Build life-giving friendships and dive deeper into a beautiful community. www.makerschurch.org/summer