That was the only response I got in return after congratulating a close friend on graduating from college, wishing her and her family well, and asking to find a time to hang out.
“Thank you.” That was it. She didn’t want to know how I was doing, what I’ve been up to, or willing to coordinate schedules to catch up on life. I didn’t know how to respond and ultimately, I didn’t respond. In that moment, I was hurt, confused and a bit bitter. How could someone I’ve known for so long and shared memories with decide to end the conversation at that?
I think friendships are often based on commonality in a space and time that was convenient – whether it be the same class that we had, the major we decided to pursue, the TV shows that we liked, or even the same ministries that we were a part of. But life changes, people change, and friendships do too.
Since graduating college, I’ve learned more and more that friendships in your twenties are hard. Time is limited as each person has new priorities and different schedules depending on what we pursue in life. Sometimes you naturally grow apart from a close friend or your friend group, sometimes there are actual friendship break ups, and sometimes you can be left with a simple response to your message and that’s okay.
God Calls Us to Different Places
Over the past few years, I’ve found peace in knowing that not everyone is meant to stay in your life. I believe that God places us where we are to teach us, to mold us, and to reach people within that specific moment of time. Jesus says to his disciples in Mark 16:15 “Go to all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” In Matthew 10:7, Jesus says, “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to go and to go into different places, which may or may not involve friends that we were once able to share life with.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us “there is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the heavens.” That also rings true for each individual person. Seasons are constantly changing and we’re all walking in different seasons of life. Some of us take on new job positions in different cities, others are applying and attending grad school, and some are embracing marriage and the journey that follows. In these different seasons of life, we are all going through new experiences, we witness God in different ways, and we encounter new people that we are also meant to meet. When God brings about changes in life, he also brings about changes in you. When God brings about changes in the lives of our friends, he also brings about changes in them.
In Christ, a change is not meant to be that of a negative thing but to see lives transformed.
As We Go
The thought of growing apart from someone you’re close to is a reality that is often hard to accept. But I trust that God is a God that gives and takes away even when it comes to friendships. For those that are taken away (or called elsewhere), he also places people in your life to walk alongside you. I can say that within the last couple of years God has placed people in my life to laugh with, cry with, mourn with, and pray with. He’s given me friends in this season of my life who are willing to affirm me, encourage me, and rebuke me all at the same time. Proverbs 27:17 tells us “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
God will give us those friendships where we help to sharpen one another even if it’s only for a season of life.
Not long after messaging my friend, I found out that she had gotten engaged. Life really does change for us at different times in different seasons. I may not understand what it’s like to be engaged at 24, to be planning a wedding, and to be making decisions with a fiancé, but there are other people who do. I hope that there are people that she can grow with and process with as she steps into this new journey of life. Maybe our paths were only meant to cross for certain period of time. But as much as God has me in his hands, he has her too. As I reflect on life right now in the season that I’m walking in, I know that the people who are here and willing to walk alongside me are meant to be here. And even someday if they’re not, may we look back and know that God had us in that moment to share life with one another and to sharpen one another for a greater purpose.