Building and keeping strong relationships is one of the most difficult things for MKs to do. Going from country to country, home to home, school to school, and language to language can be overwhelming. While we can connect through social media (Facebook, Skype, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), it just isn’t the same. Time zones are an additional challenge. When we want to talk, they can’t, and when they want to talk, we can’t! These are all basic hurdles of life as an MK.
I had some great friends in high school. Since I went to an international school, I had friends from all over the world! I played lots of sports and was connected with fantastic people. However, after high school everybody went their own way and didn’t keep in touch. But I still have a few friends today I have known since childhood, like Jonathan, a fellow MK from Brussels. Although he and I only see each other once or twice a year, we always have an amazing time together. We love reminiscing about high school, even though we played sports for competing schools.
I know of MKs who decided friendships were so difficult they kept to themselves and never even tried. There are times we don’t think we’ll live in a place long enough to make the effort and then have to go through painful good-byes. I remember one high school senior who moved to Brussels while we were youth pastors at the international church. She was upset at her parents for making her move and spent the year with a chip on her shoulder. She was miserable. About two months before graduation, she started to realize she had actually made some amazing friends and loved her school and Belgium. Then she had to deal with feelings of regret for wasting most of her senior year with anger and bitterness.
Don’t hold out simply because of the fear of losing friends. Despite the challenges, building friendships is still worth it, even if you think they won’t last long. Friends are important to who we are and who we become. You walk away a better person, and so do they! That doesn’t mean you won’t have sadness or tears, but you will also have great memories and maybe, just maybe, you will gain a lifelong friend!
Let me encourage you today to open yourself up to relationships! You have a lot to give to others, and you never know—someone may cross your path who is in desperate need of a friend. God may have brought you into that person’s life for a specific reason. So don’t waste any time. Allow yourself to love others, no matter what the future may hold! When it’s time to part ways, just move yourself closer to God. He will bring comfort to you and prepare you for a new friendship just around the corner.