I grew up in the same church my whole life. I was the youth pastor’s kid, and ultimately it left me feeling pretty lonely. I had a few friends - a few who encouraged me to walk in my faith and a few who just made me laugh, yet I always felt alone. After high school, I moved to Virginia to attend Liberty University (which is a huge school, like seriously really large). For the first two years, I felt alone as well. I’m not one to just go up to people and connect. I need people to approach me, accept me, and befriend me first.
I love the show Friends so much. I love the dynamics of the characters and seeing them do life together. And that’s what each of us crave - friendships that we walk through life having. But instead, we sit alone in our rooms and watch community take place on a TV screen. Making friends is hard, but making friends is necessary.
Community is a vital part of our walk in life. Jesus created community and friendships so we could grow. So why is making friends so intimidating?
Let’s jump into Scripture then talk. In the four gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we see Jesus having community with other people. He builds relationships with people in the towns he travels to and He builds relationships with the disciples. Jesus knew the importance of community. He acted on it. He gave us an example. In Luke chapter 22, we see Jesus leading the example of communion. He broke bread with the people around him. He talked to them, He led them, and He gave them a model to follow.
Sometimes I wish I could just go to coffee with Jesus like I would with one of my close friends. We’d laugh over coffee, cry about brokenness, and He’d be so encouraging (like c’mon, it would be amazing). Then reality kicks in and I realize I can’t exactly meet Jesus at Starbucks to chat, but Jesus reminds me, “That’s why I created friendship and community.”
Yes, I can’t meet him at a coffee shop or for dinner, but He wants me to do that with other people. Friends.
In the book of Acts, we read about churches begin to form and talk about this Jesus guy who did something incredible (like raising from the dead incredible). They began to gather together and form friendships and community with one another. Acts 2:42-47 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
They broke bread together. They met together. They did life together. Just like Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross (okay, they’re community probably looked really different, but I’m just making a connection).
Jesus calls us to love friends and be loved by friends.
Maybe you’re reading this, and you’re saying, “Carrie. I get that. But I can’t seem to make friends anywhere I go.” Begin to pray. In that season of loneliness, I began to pray for a friend (just one), and the Lord brought me Emalea, the friend I had been praying for. Then I stopped praying and the Lord brought Rebekah. And more and more community began to form. He knew what I needed and He acted.
As school begins and you’re intimidated by making friends, remember the importance of it all. Friends matter. Community matters. Jesus calls us to it, and He’ll provide the people we need. So when it feels like you’re stuck in second gear, they’ll be there for you (see what I did there?).
Written By: Carrie