Homesickness is Not Just for Kids
by Carrie Dedrick, Editor, Crosswalk.com
I was the kid at church camp who was homesick.
But I don’t think that word really does those emotions a justice. “Homesick” just kind of sounds like a kid who is feeling a little lonely in a new place.
In reality, my childhood homesickness was extreme. I cried hysterically and hyperventilated to the point that my counselors called the camp nurse. She almost called an ambulance because no one could calm me down. I wanted to go home with such desperation, I could not breathe or behave rationally.
I'm 24 now, and still struggle with it at times.
Immediately after college, I followed my now-husband to the city. I had grown up in the country and went to college in the country, though in a different state. The culture shock of city living sparked those familiar feelings of homesickness almost immediately.
I realized that my parents were three hours away and I knew almost no one. I hated the city; It was a scary place for me full of foreign sights, sounds, and people.
That was two years ago.
Since the big move to the city, I have learned to like it. Where I live has so much to offer with events and festivals; rarely do my husband and I have a weekend with nothing planned and I like it that way. I have a job that I love coming to everyday and a wonderful church family, but it seems that I will never stop missing my family.
Of course, I have my husband with me. He has been at my side through many tears and tantrums as I wrestle with my feelings of loneliness and isolation. He has calmed me with comforting words, even when I would prefer not to listen.
In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus tells the Pharisees, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Man (or woman) shall leave his father and mother.
That's what we did. And it's hard.
Leaving my family and moving to an unfamiliar place has been unspeakably difficult for me. But I believe that I am here in this city for a reason. So far, I have become active in my church and accepted a job where I can do what I love (write) and share the love of Jesus at the same time. And this is only the beginning. There are endless ways to minister in a city; I just need to listen to God’s call to find out how he wants my talents to be used.
1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms."
God has given us all many gifts. It is our responsibility to use our talents to glorify him.
If you are in a new place in your life, whether literally or metaphorically, I would encourage you to sit down and consider what your talents are and how you can use them to God’s glory. Find a cause that you believe in and answer God's call for action.
I’ve found that my homesickness symptoms are less severe when I am immersed in something. As a former summer camp counselor (at the same camp I went to as a kid), I know that when a homesick child is in your care, you have to keep that child busy. If the kid gets lost in an arts and crafts project or pool time, the feelings of sadness seem miles away. I apply the same concept to myself now, even though I am grown up.
When I am involved in a writing piece like this or an event with my church, I don’t feel so lonely. I feel blessed that God would allow me to take part in something that glorifies his name and spreads the good news.
Remember that old saying about idle hands being the devil's workshop? Well, it's kind of true. During a six-month period of unemployment, I had a lot of time. And while I didn't spend that time gallavanting in sin or gossip like the idle "busybodies" do in 1 Timothy 5:13, I did allow those negative feelings and loneliness to take over. I'm certain that was Satan's work, for the Lord loves me and wants me to be happy.
But I've found that I am at peace with my new city when I am not idle, but doing something to glorify my God.
God wants you to be happy too.
It may be a constant battle, but I the moments that I struggle with homesickness seem to be hitting less often and with more time between.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Perhaps you too have moved away from family or a hometown. Or maybe you simply feel lonely. I would recommend that you remember one thing when that depressing feel of isolation arises: God is with you always. You are never truly alone.