It recently dawned on me that in this season of my life, not one of my closest friends is my age.
Yes, I’m sure it seems odd to most people, but my most like-minded friends are in their 20s and their 60s. Others are married couples in their 40s and so forth. But I haven’t found a whole lot of single 30-somethings I connect with to create a tight-knit Friends type of kaffeeklatsch. And that’s okay. Even though that popular show lives on in syndication, I've decided it’s not the be-all-end-all pattern for what a pool of amigos should or has to look like.
It’s taken me a while to figure out that God brings friends into our lives who may not be in the form or fashion we expect. But they are always good for us (His definition of “good”) when it is part of His plan.
Lately, I am learning so much from believers who are still in their summers, as well as those who are faring well in their winters. Those ahead of me are teaching me valuable life lessons. And those trailing a way’s behind are causing me to step up to the plate and be a good example, while also humbling me with questions that many times lead to conviction and life changes.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he 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.” Acts 2 (NIV)
What the above passage doesn’t say is that the single people only mingled with the single people. That the young marrieds only served with other young marrieds. Or that the families with children only reached out and helped other ‘rents and runts (think alliterative, not derogatory). The key point, I think, is that these believers were unified... regardless of their seasons in life. That’s pretty cool. And for today, that type of unity and connection seems to be rare.
You may find yourself in a similar season of your life where you just aren’t connecting with friends your age—whether at your church or your workplace or elsewhere. Let me encourage you to be bold and cross borders in search of meaningful friendships and connections with believers who may be younger or older than you. Age really is just a number, and the Lord may be leading you to befriend someone who’s not even in your current sphere of influence or peer group.
In my own life, these types of “unlikely” friendships have challenged and grown me. The Lord has worked through me to reach out to others whose lives may look completely different than mine and vice versa.
In fact, just last weekend I had brunch with a newlywed couple I’ve gotten to know better this past year. They’re in their 40s, and are enjoying this season of marital bliss. But at the same time—when one might think newlyweds would be only spouse-focused—they have reached out to someone like me and have shown that they are interested and care about what God is doing in my life. They have opened their home, and we have broken bread together. We’ve studied the Word, and we’re praying for one another. A bridge has been built, and a connection has been made.
Next month, we’re going to serve meals together for one evening during the dinner shift at a local, inner-city mission. And I trust that our efforts—and the Spirit working through us—will not only strengthen our friendship and fellowship, but will also help add to our number “those who are being saved.”