When I found out that I would be living with a host family during the course of this program, I was very nervous. I had lived with roommates in college and had loved living with people however this was different. This was me being in someone else’s home, learning how to live with and interact with four people I had never met before in a city I had never been to before. While I was overcome with gratitude and thankfulness toward them for taking me into their home, I felt apprehensive because I did not want to be a burden on them. I didn’t want to mess up the family dynamic that they had built and cultivated over the years.
When I moved into their home on August 28th , I could tell that they were nervous too. I felt comforted knowing that I wasn’t the only one feeling nervous about everything. They were very welcoming and I felt wanted there. I realized that if they didn’t want me there then they wouldn’t have volunteered to be a host family.
The first week was hard just because I was learning my place in the family and how I fit into their home. I began to feel comfortable in my house and with my host family. I stopped thinking of myself as a guest in their house and began considering myself part of the family. I really connected with their two kids and I have loved getting to know them and be their friend.
I can see the ways in which the Lord is working in me living here. I can feel Him opening my eyes to things, revealing aspects of my heart that I need to work on. While living here has been great, the Lord has taken a lot of my struggles and has brought them to the surface here. He has placed me in an environment where there is conflict around me and I am learning how to handle conflict in a healthy way instead of just hiding from it. There is bound to be conflict within a family and I am learning that all conflicts aren’t because of me. I used to feel anxious around conflict because I always thought that I had something to do in causing it. I realize now that that is not always the case.
The Lord is also teaching me a lot about protecting my time and learning how to say no. I am realizing that I am a people-pleaser and I always want to say yes to people because I don’t want to let them down. It can be exhausting constantly saying yes to everyone and it causes me to become drained and not be able to love others well because I am tired and drained. The daughter and I have become very close and while I love her, I am learning to say no sometimes when she asks to hang out. It is good for me to learn to say no and protect my time and I think it is also good for her to learn boundaries and how to respect other peoples time.
Since I have freedom in Christ, I have the freedom to say no, to protect my time, and to withdraw and spend time with the Father. Living with my host family has forced me out of my comfort zone and has forced me to face my struggles and learn how to overcome them. I have learned how to accept and ask for help, how to face conflict in a healthy way, and how to protect my time and learn how to say no. Overall, these past few months with this family has been amazing and I can see how the Lord is working here. I feel wanted, loved, and needed here and I am so excited to see what the Lord does within this upcoming year.
Salt Lake Fellow 2016-17