Friendships are much like a revolving door. I have had a ton of friends come in and out of my life. Think about it. It’s going to happen when you serve 11 churches in 24 years. (Gotta love when the nature of your ministry is short-term!😂) I made some pretty close friends that I wish I could have held onto moving into the next season. Most of those now are acquaintances at best, or we no longer communicate. Why is that?
Location – Out of those 11 churches, 4 of those are in the area in which I live now. So 7 of those are in other states or other parts of this state. Unless you have plenty of money to travel, most of these friendships will decrease in intensity. That’s just how life goes. Other people close in proximity are more convenient and can better provide a depth of friendship you no longer can. Don’t take it personally!
Life stage – I had friends during the stage of singleness that did not fit into the married phase. They didn’t relate. Add kids to the mix, and they really didn’t relate. Their exodus or lack of prominence in your life is not because they hate you. They just don’t connect with where you are in life now, and that’s okay!
Seasonal change – Some friends are only meant to be in your life for a season. They, or you, will serve a specific purpose. When that purpose is fulfilled, one or the other moves on.
The busyness of life – I understand this one. I wake up in the morning, I go to work, I come home, I deal with 4 of the 7 kids (all when it’s their time to be here), put them in bed, try to enjoy some down time, and go to sleep. Repeat cycle the next day. I won’t be in this cycle forever, although it feels like it. I do get in phone calls with people when I am traveling. I have a dear friend from Georgia who has withstood the test of time and life phases. Also, a dear couple from my first pastorate stays in touch. Then, I have people in ministry I stay in touch with. Although I strive to be on the giving side, the encouragement is mutual.
Once again, don’t take it personally when these friends go away. That’s life! Some go, and new ones replace them. When the old ones go, pray and ask God for you to have grace to accept that. Don’t try to hold on to something that isn’t meant to be! God knows what He is doing. Trust Him!