May 21, 2017


If you know me, you know just how shy I can be (at first ;])! Though being friendly and making friends aren't mutually exclusive, I'll admit that the latter is certainly more difficult for me. There's a boldness that's required, a different kind of confidence...a fearlessness. Freedom from insecurities, from the fear of rejection, from the fear of being vulnerable, from the fear of simply approaching someone new and just saying "hi".

So after I've mustered up that courage, after I've overcome the hurdles, after a friendship is finally born, I want to do anything and everything I can to preserve that friendship. That's reasonable, right?

Well, in comes life: friendships come and go due to a variety of circumstances, but what I've found to be the most disheartening is the rate at which they come and go, particularly when you're in school. People graduate, people move, friendships from jobs and internships end with the summer, people transfer... the influx of people coming in and out is both constant and destabilizing.

You can argue that social media keeps people connected, and you make a good point, but I strongly believe that most relationships cannot be sustained purely through digital mediums. I prefer face to face interactions, and when digital mediums are the only way to maintain connection, then a significant amount of commitment is required from both parties -- it's tough!

So why do I bring all this up? You may have noticed some uncharacteristic honesty in some of my posts over the past year. My heart was hardened over the course of this school year, primarily through my own bitterness and fear. Subconsciously, I was keeping myself locked up, guarded...protected from future heartbreak of friends leaving, and disappointment when finally putting myself out there bears no fruit. History of lost relationships made me unmotivated. What's the point when the chances of someone staying in your life is so much smaller than the chances of losing someone?

But over the past month and a half, I've learned to ask God to soften my heart and make me bolder...
bolder, so that I can make conversations with stoic Northerners (a stark contrast to my year with Southerners)

stronger, so that I can persevere through rejections, disappointments, and a wearied introvert's heart after too much interaction! 

more resilient...
more resilient, so that I can let go of friends when they leave, knowing that God is in control of our friendship, and allowing myself to remain open to new friendships. 

"Even if it were granted that insurances against heartbreak were our highest wisdom, does God Himself offer them? Apparently not. Christ comes at last to say “Why hast thou forsaken me?” There is no escape along the lines St. Augustine suggests. Nor along any other lines. There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all dangers and perturbations of love is Hell… Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it." -C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

You see, friends, it's so much better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. A big part of being a good friend is learning to let go of your loved ones when it's time. Find hope in knowing that Christians never have to say goodbye, and take faith in knowing that God always has the best intentions for you. Some friends come into your life for a reason, others only for a season (forgive me for quoting Hannah Montana). But don't forget that there's still meaning and so much value in those short seasons, too.

I'll be the first to admit that internalizing the necessity to let go is incredibly difficult. It's a gradual process, and it's going to be harder at some points than others, but we've got His strength to lean on.

So soften your heart, be open to the possibility of heartbreak, be open to friendships. Ask God to chip away at the chains that are binding your heart. Trust that His protection over you is sufficient; you don't need to protect yourself anymore.

Unclench your tight grasp around your friends and heart, and ask God for the strength to open up your palms. Stretch out your fingers, and keep them there. Hold that position. That's it.

Keep them open, and allow God to give and take away as he pleases. Friends are blessings, and blessings are undeserved gifts from God. I've learned that the most reasonable response is to simply be grateful. Just be grateful for the people who have touched you, and take a steady breath when you let them go. You will see them again, whether on Earth or in Heaven, and your heart will heal.
Most importantly, don't forget there's one whom you'll never have to let go of, because He never lets go of you.

Song recommendation: "You Make Me Brave"

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