Pillow Talk – Acquaintances & Casual Friendships
My first year in Baltimore in the summer of 2014 was one of the most isolating years of my life. I was a fresh college graduate, moved to a new city, had just one friend in the area, and no reliable transportation to get around.
Have you ever felt so isolated, yet you were surrounded by people at the same time?
This feeling can be both physically and emotionally draining. Pastor Chris and Pastor Lori introduced us to the new series ‘Pillow Talk’, where we are invited to look at how each of us can foster building healthy relationships, from acquaintances to casual friendships, to committed relationships, and ultimately intimacy.
We were not designed to be alone! “It is not good for man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18)
While I felt disconnected from my peers, I was fortunate to have some extended family in the city to socialize with, celebrate birthdays, and share meals. Thank God for Family! However, I concluded, unlike the easier times in college, that I needed to be more intentional about making new friends.
Anyone who knows me knows I love playing soccer! Every Saturday morning, I would commit to playing casual games of pick-up soccer with perfect strangers. After some months I began to form some great friendships. I joined some great social league teams and, eventually, I was invited to their social outings. It was great; I was no longer isolated! (Cue club horn) …and we all lived happily ever after, well not quite. See, there was a critical part of my identity I was leaving out. It felt like a whole I couldn’t quite fill. I was still thirsty for an unknown connection. Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (John 7:37)
Finding a community of Believers
Sometimes we pursue God’s creations so hard, that we forget to pursue the Creator. In my search for friendships, I neglected to connect with the most important relationship I had, God. This became evident one weekend when I got to a breaking point trying to internally grapple with tough questions about my faith and existence. I found myself in a similar place of isolation even though I had these new friendships. What was the deal? I didn’t have a community to share what was on my mind. I found myself shuffling into Epic’s doors for the first time, and I was greeted by a very cheerful fellow with a warm smile named Jeremy. He welcomed me, joked with me, and guided me to the service. I had a great experience, but I had some wounds from a previous Church that left me with baggage I didn’t even know I had. This made it hard for me to truly feel connected to other believers, and unfortunately, I didn’t return to Epic for about a year.
God will send you a Friend
After some time, I decided to visit Epic again, and before I crossed the threshold of the doors I heard a cheery voice say, “I remember you! Beresford, right?” That moment was incredibly important to me. Jeremy had not only remembered my name after about a year, but he also flagged me down and sat with me in service that day. I kept coming to church, and he would genuinely pursue my friendship, introduce me to his friends and eventually invited me to his small group. It was in his small group that I built relationships that graduated from casual to committed friendships where I saw God’s love over the next few years!
How can you break the cycle of isolation for yourself or others?
· First, connect with God
· Seek a community of believers (Matthew 18:20)
· Build a bridge to connect with others (believers and non-believers alike)
Do you have casual friendships with the potential to go deeper?
I invite you to identify those relationships over the next few days and ask yourself “Why they haven’t gone further?” Look out for the next post where we look at what a deeper/committed relationship can look like, and how we might at times get in the way of forming those stronger bonds.
Beresford Pratt, Communications Team