Miracles abound in the Bible. From manna falling from the sky during the Exodus to the healing of the disabled man outside the temple by Peter, the Bible is full of stories that show God’s presence and grace revealed in uncommon ways. One of the ways Jesus reveals his divinity is through the miraculous feats that proclaim God’s glory. However, there is one miracle that is often overlooked; it is the miracle of Jesus’ disciples. One of the most miraculous events of Jesus’ life was that he, as an adult, had twelve close friends. Yes, Jesus’ friend group was a miracle; I know no other way one could sustain such a feat. I don’t remember who I heard this joke from, but I remember instantly thinking that there was more than a laugh behind this statement.
As younger people, we are given avenues like school or athletics to meet others and create bonds that we hope last a lifetime. Our friends and teammates help shape who we are and support us when we are down. This support structure is something we take for granted because creating these bonds is a lot more challenging when you are an adult. With college seniors celebrating their graduations, they begin the transition from being students to being working adults. Here are four things to consider as you seek to build and sustain relationships after graduation.
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Life becomes compartmentalized
In college, you may be on the same team, in the same classes and part of the same small group or Bible study as your friends. This connectivity allows you multiple contact points with these individuals throughout your day and week. You may even live with these people, further providing ways for you to be involved in one another’s lives.
Unfortunately, this is uncommon in our current society after college.
The people you work with will be different from the people who attend your gym or church, or the people who live in your neighborhood or apartment complex. It is normal to have friends in all of these areas, and it is OK if they do not know each other and are different from one another. There is a beauty and fullness in sharing your life with different people in different contexts that is not possible when you only have one group of friends who do everything together.
Get out and do something with other people
While it sounds obvious, it is important get out and do something with other people. Join a small group at church, sign up for a recreational sports league or volunteer at a local charity. Just make sure you are doing something with other people. Going to the gym and having your headphones in the entire time is not a social outing; it is a group of individuals in the same room at the same time. Engage and connect with others, try something new or step out of your comfort zone. You may be surprised by who you meet and how they can affect your life.
You have to be intentional
Friends are earned, not given. If you don’t reach out and connect with others, chances are they won’t reach out to you. Whether you are at work, in church or in a recreational sports league, putting in the work to connect with people and invest in their lives helps foster lasting bonds. We cannot expect people to care about us if we are not willing to also care about them. Be flexible and persistent when doing this. People are busy with families, work and other activities, and it is not personal if you cannot connect as frequently as you would like. If you are willing to adapt and be patient, you will be able to make the connections you desire. Intentionally reaching out to foster positive relationships will help create ties that will support us in the good times and the bad.
It will be worth it
There are times in life when we need a helping hand. When he was sinking in the water, Peter needed Jesus to pull him up, and there will come a time in every life when we need another’s comfort and support. This does not change after graduation. While it is more difficult to create and sustain these supportive relationships after college, they are no less important. You will need to celebrate or mourn with those who know you and are invested in your life, just as you will do for those you care deeply for. Building relationships is never easy, but they are always worth it in the end.