My recent musings have come from a deep seeded conviction that community and friendships are essential to live a fulfilled life. But it must go beyond the previous statement, because left in seclusion, it will drive the individual to think that this life, in its entirety, is all about themselves. That community and friendship only has one end: to live fulfilled.
To gain everything from the people around them, to take and only give when it benefits them. Can this be the underlying theme of people trying to make friends? I would suggest the answer is yes, because it could be the underlying theme of people in general, not just when it comes to friendship.
I have recently returned from a 3 year missions experience in which I lived in intentional Christian community with about 100 people. Every day I interacted with the same people, with a common goal and common interests (the first and foremost being God). Coming back into the “real world” of a white middle class society, where everyone retreats to their homes in the evening has been a little bit of shock. Don’t get me wrong, I understood that this happened.
People get up, go to work and then go home. They may hang out with some friends on the weekends, but for the most part they live in seclusion from the rest of the world.
So, why is it to hard to make friends!?
Let me pose my current situation to you: I usually see “friends” of mine 1-2 times per week. Two times a week would be a stretch, because we usually get busy and don’t have time to get together. So, in a , I may see this person 4-8 times. That’s it. That’s why people say they make their best friends in college. Because you may see the same person 4-8 times in one day, much less a whole month.
To make a legitimate friend, you have to like that person is your friend. If you can be you. If you know that you won’t be judged no matter what comes out of your mouth, that you will be accepted loved just because of who you are, then friendship (on a deeper level) has started. The surface level stuff has started to fade away and each person starts to be vulnerable and actually enjoy each others company.
When friends allow into what they have, it creates community.
God calls us into community. It’s what we were made for. As soon as Jesus started his ministry he created community by calling his disciples. He didn’t run away from people, he ran toward them. He didn’t sit on his throne and watch us, he interacted and loved us. He shared experiences with us, taught us and befriended us.
Jesus didn’t see us and run, he saw us and took a step forward. He called us his friends. If we are going to make friends we have to build people up, encourage them and be vulnerable before them. Let’s go back to my first statement: Community and friendship are essential to live a fulfilled life. That fulfillment comes when we start giving more than we take. It comes when we fight for friendship.
Here’s a challenge and some practical steps to making friends:
1. Seek people out. Realize that each person wants deeper friendship and this only happens when someone takes initiative.
2. Open your home or find a place to meet on a regular basis. Create a game night or a movie night. Find a common interest and make space for you to share in it together. *Tip: There are certain people that God has created for hospitality and it’s OK if it’s not you. Find someone that loves to host and talk with them about possibilities to create a fun recurring event.
3. Create space for vulnerability. Think about opening your community night with a sharing time. Something simple: How has your week been? If there is a problem or issue, seek to come together as a group and help that person in a practical way. Ask: Is there anything this group can do to help? Maybe end in a short prayer asking God to intervene.
Jason LaLone was on staff at YWAM Brisbane and is currently in America working with Truro Anglican Church located in Fairfax, Virginia. He is passionate about discipleship, taking Jesus’ command to make disciples a practical reality that he can live on a daily basis. He loves lasagna, cats and used to dislike Mondays, making him most like Garfield.
Jason LaLone’s previous articles might be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/Jason-LaLone.html