Have you ever gotten so deeply entrenched in something- maybe a friendship, hobby, job, relationship, social media, tv show, etc.- that you forgot to “look up?” Maybe one thing has been dominating your life for a while now, and without it you feel like you are stranded in the middle of the ocean. This one person or thing has become an anchor for you, something reliable that will always be there.
I am guilty of this on multiple levels. I choose a thing or person and shift my focus solely on them. Maybe on a small scale, like me, you have the familiar feeling of attempting to click “next episode” on Netflix, only to find that
“WHAT?! YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME. NO. IT CAN’T BE OVER. THEY CAN’T DO THIS TO ME. I CAN’T FUNCTION WITHOUT ANOTHER EPISODE. “
Your dependence on this one show has created an addiction, and when it is not provided anymore, there is “suffering.” (I experienced this with Parks and Recreation, and every time after I watch a Pirates of the Caribbean movie- I’m actually supposed to be a pirate, just don’t tell my parents.)
Now. I totally understand that TV shows, on the broad scale of life, are not that important. But this same feeling of depravity after something is cut off or temporarily unavailable can be applied to our friendships/relationships. I have always been a one-best-friend type of person. Even though I do generally have a good number of friends, I am prone to pour all of my effort and energy into one individual. I tend to get jealous when they are with other people. I become dependent on their love. I want them to be dependent on me, also. I want them to think that I’m their ‘best friend “also. It’s selfish, I acknowledge it, and God has worked in my heart for many years over this reoccurring issue.
So what happens when you don’t have that person in your life anymore? I’ve lost many of those “best friends” over the years. Maybe we started to go in different directions, maybe there was an unresolved fight, etc. Each time a “best” friendship goes south, it has forced me to get outside of my box. I have to reconnect with those “lesser” friendships that I had neglected. I made that person my idol, and pushed all of my dependency onto them. Sometimes the relationship is salvageable, sometimes it’s not.
As good as it feels to have one person be your all, it is wrong. First of all, you limit the influence that comes into your life. Usually the people closest to me are people that agree with me. We will come to the same conclusions on most things, and they will have pretty much the same views on life and theology as me. Proverbs 13:30 talks about walking with the wise and BECOMING wise. This person is being effected by the people around them. She is choosing to be with more mature, wise believers and they are influencing and changing her. They are different than her, in a good way. She is actively growing, something that might not happen with her closest friend- the one that is very similar to her.
The second problem that will arise with one person being your all, is that you have put your trust in a human, who will ultimately fail you at one point or another. It is embarrassing how many times I have expected a best friend or boyfriend to have just the right words, or understand exactly how I am feeling. And time and time again, I am let down. Now this isn’t to say that they aren’t wonderful people, but… they are human. I have made the mistake of trusting someone to help me solve problems that they cannot POSSIBLY solve. God is the only one who I can consistently trust. Jeremiah 17:5 hits the nail on the head, “Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” We cannot allow ourselves to put people in the place of God. He is righteously jealous, and has the power to remove things or people that are in His place.
One last thing. As a Christian (especially if you’re at a Christian college), there are many wonderful people that you don’t know yet. You can look at these people from a networking standpoint- we’re all here to get degrees, anyways- and you can also, and more importantly, look at them as members of the body of Christ. Christ is our Head, and as the church, we make up the body. We need each other, and in this case, dependency is good! God has gifted us with different spiritual gifts and all are needed for growth. If you just stick with your one friend, or maybe your tightly knit “squad”, you are neglecting other parts of the body. People you need. People who have had similar struggles in life and can help you. With Christ at the center, we are able to build each other up and sharpen each other.
I don’t want you to think that I’m saying having a best friend is bad (I have one!), and obviously, marriage is an incredibly deep relationship where God makes you one unit. I’m talking about those friendships or relationships that replace God. That do not make room for Him.
So let’s ask ourselves what boxes we have put ourselves in. What friendships have become controlling and all-encompassing. Am I pursuing God’s approval or my friends? Would I be okay if God took this person away from me? Where do I get my ultimate satisfaction in life? Is it Someone lasting?