Perhaps you got a job in a new town, moved to work with a ministry in another country, or are in school far from family and friends. Whatever the reason may be, you are now in a new place and quite by yourself.
To the single who moved away from everything familiar and is feeling a bit lonely, I get it.
New chapters and new locations are exciting, as it usually includes the unfolding of things you’ve planned for and dreamed of. But let’s be honest, while traveling somewhere on your own can be a bit intimidating, moving on your own to a place where you have no close friends or family can be downright scary.
As a single girl who moved to South Africa, I understand. There are rough days. Sometimes you just want to go to a coffee shop with your best friend and talk about life (because let’s be honest, a FaceTime call just doesn’t quite do it). Sometimes you wish you could drive over to your parent’s house for the evening. But the reality hits that you can’t. And it’s hard.
Please don’t give up. I wish I could sit down with you over a cup of coffee and tell you how brave and courageous you are. As someone who has been through this transition – and is still in it, in ways – I want to offer you a few words of encouragement.
It’s okay to miss family and friends.
Actually, it’s healthy. The way I look at it, when I miss people it’s simply proof that there were meaningful relationships. It means that I invested, and that’s something to celebrate. I hope that the same will happen every time I move – that there are always people I miss because I was invested in relationships there. Take those moments of missing people and turn it into a moment of thankfulness.
There are amazing things to discover in this season.
God doesn’t waste anything, and He isn’t wasting this season of your life. He has exciting new things for you to discover right here, right now. Ask for a heart that is open to receive it. Sometimes the loneliness or homesickness masks the beauty of this new chapter. But it’s there – you may just have to make a conscious choice to see it.
As singles in a new town, we don’t want to just survive each day. We want to thrive, learn and grow. But in order to do that, we have to be intentional with our thoughts and actions. Here are some things that have been helpful to me in seasons of transition…
Don’t let the hard days define your experience.
It’s easy to take those hard days – those moments of missing people, places, and memories – and project them your experience as a whole. In those moments I verbalize that, yes, I miss family and friends and I’m feeling a little lonely right now. BUT, I love the new relationships that have been built. I’m excited about the new things I’m learning. I have the opportunity to pursue things that I’m passionate about. I get to find new ways to invest in the people around me. I recognize that I feel God’s peace that this is where I need to be for this season. Stepping back and looking at the season as a whole, it’s worth it.
Look to the One who promises to be your comfort and strength.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…”
– Psalm 46:1-2
The moments of loneliness lead me closer to God. He promised to be my comfort. He promised to be my strength. When everything else seems to be changing, He is steadfast. He is ever-present; He never fails. Period. Things that were head-knowledge moved to heart-knowledge, as I experienced at deeper levels the love and nearness of my Father.
Be courageous and reach out.
Put yourself in places where you can build new friendships. For me, one of those places was church. I had been attending for several months but was discouraged because I didn’t really get to know anyone. But when I started to intentionally reach out and get involved – joining organized hikes, going to events outside of Sunday services, getting involved in a home group – I began to meet so many new people. Putting myself out there was a bit intimidating at first. But looking back, it was such a healthy thing to do. Building friendships outside of my workspace (although I have many deep relationships within that place as well!) has been very helpful in making this place home.
I want to close in saying that I applaud you, courageous one. Moving away from everything familiar is a brave thing to do. On those days that you feel alone, lost, or scared, don’t give up. Remember that there are new things to discover, new relationships to build, and new adventures to be had.
What are your tips for navigating the transition of moving to a new place as a single person?