A Lesson in Friendship

In my life, I’ve had both the blessing and the curse of moving around a lot. Sometimes it was due to circumstance, but mostly it was by choice. God was taking us—and me, in particular—on a journey to become someone new, and we followed obediently. But each time a new transition came on the horizon, an interesting phenomenon occurred.

As the reality of impending change dawned on my heart, there was always a temptation to pull away from friends, ministries, volunteer opportunities, and things that might make me feel connected to the place I intended to leave.

I believe this represents a natural instinct in human nature—a self-protective measure to prevent attachment that will make detaching more painful. But it comes at a price.

Now, I look back wistfully at all the friendships I might have gained, the experiences which could have shaped me, and the impact I could have made on others in those times when instead I chose to protect my own heart from the pain of leaving.

I wonder if Jesus felt this way as He walked through His life on earth. He knew His life came with a short expiration date. Yet He made deep friends, grieved short-term losses, and invested in intentional conversations until the very end. What if He had said, as my heart does, “I won’t be here much longer. Maybe I should walk away so I don’t get too attached”?

Of course, this seems absurd for Jesus. He came to earth with the specific purpose of pouring into His people, demonstrating godly living, and sharing a message of love to all who would listen. But—and this question gives me great pause—is my purpose really so different?

If any part of my life’s purpose involves loving people, improving their quality of life, exemplifying godly character, or sharing whatever wisdom God gives me, then how can I pull away from that mission even if I know my relationships have an end date?

Are you living out your life purpose, even when “practical” wisdom says it’s not worth the effort? Are you willing to start relationships even if you may not get the opportunity to finish building them? Each moment we spend pouring into one another can change the course of two lives. Are we willing to miss that opportunity because of a little pain? Or can we muster the courage to show up, day after day, whatever the future holds, and be a light in peoples’ lives for as long as we remain?

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