Life is full of changes, continues to move forward, and surprises always lurk.
6+ months ago, Paul and I pursued a calling which brought us to a new church. The calling and direction was very clear, but I struggled with the idea of finding a new church. I was (am) drawn to comfort and was comfortable at the church I had been involved with for over six years. I had a deep sense of belonging and cared greatly for those in my life and those who were a part of my community.
Paul and I followed God's call and have been truly blessed in doing so. I suppose that I did hold on to the misconception that once we obeyed God's calling, things would be easy. In many ways the transition has been easy. In being honest though, I must admit that there have been challenges and heartache as a part of this move.
The biggest challenge for me has been losing friendships and the sense of community that I had at my previous church. When Paul and I made the transition I found solace in the fact that I had friendships that were Christ focused and not a specific church focused. I thought that some ties went deep. Instead, aside from a few, those friendships have been confined by four church walls that I no longer walk through.
This void had been very real to me these past three months. I went through and continue to work through one of the hardest and deeply emotional experiences of my life. I wont go into detail, but it has caused friendship and community to be on the forefront of my mind as I have been in desperate need of support, love, and encouragement. I am thankful that a handful of friendships have prevailed during this change.
Through this experience I have been learning to pray more and specifically for who God has called me to pursue friendships with. Being able to take time to narrow in on specific people allows me the opportunity to be authentic and allows for margin in my friendships.
Why do I believe margin in friendship is important? It allows me to room to be more flexible. If a friend is in need I feel that I can more easily be there. Instead of investing a little bit with a lot of people, I can focus more deeply with a smaller group of people.
I feel that this learning experience has helped me as I build relationships at my new church. I feel encouraged. I have gained more clarity on what it means to be a Christ follower and that a right heart before God is so important.
And for that, I am thankful for the heartache. I am thankful for those that have walked along side me over the years and I am thankful for those that I feel called to walk alongside.
As my friend C.S Lewis writes “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival."