I received an email from a TCK on the subject of having friends. Specifically, at some point in her life, she stopped making friends partly because she knew she’d leave soon. And distancing herself from people, in a way, protected her from the pain and sorrow of leaving them. Thus, with her permission, I’m replying to her through the TCK email ministry because you might relate to this too. I “protected” myself several times throughout my life, so I’ll share a few of them.
Friendships with the Unsaved
When I entered university, I planned not to make any friends because my course was fast-paced. (It initially lasted two years, but I extended it to 2 ½ years.) Instead, everyone would merely be classmates to me, and I would interact with them for assignments only. It sounded like a good plan because I can focus on my own work, my own schedule, and my own–yeah you get the picture. I was focusing on myself.
But the first day of classes changed my thoughts. I picked a spot near the front of the lecture hall. A lady came in and decided to sit beside me despite the sheer number of empty rows behind. Little did I know that I would become friends with her and many others.
Because Jesus taught me not to focus on myself.
When He was on earth, He didn’t seclude Himself and not interact with people despite knowing that He’ll soon die, resurrect, and ascend to Heaven. He came with a key purpose: to save the world from sin and give the saved eternal life in Heaven. Why would He do that? Because He loves us (John 3:16), and when we’re saved, we love Him back (1 John 4:19).
Because we love Him, we should love other people by showing Christ’s selfless love and by trying to point the unbelievers to Him so that they can be saved.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
John 13:34, KJV
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Mark 16:15, KJV
To clarify, I’m not saying we should mix with the unsaved to the point that the relationship becomes “unequally yoked” (2 Cor. 6:14), that we get influenced to be more like the world than Jesus. Proverbs 27:17 (KJV) says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Meaning, we can be changed by the people we mix with.
So to prevent being influenced, we must stay close to Jesus in our relationship with Him while keeping our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23).
Friendships with the Saved
When my family moved to the Czech Republic, I knew that I could bond deeply with people easily, so I wanted to distance myself from the church to protect myself from future grief.
Again, the opposite happened. The Bible told me that I’m a part of the church, and I should serve and be in fellowship with the brethren because Jesus wants the church to be in unity. Throughout the Gospels, did He not commune with His disciples? No! He has a relationship with them just like He has a relationship with us.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
1 John 1:7, KJV
Thus, I immersed myself in the church and was greatly blessed by it. Despite the grief of losing a friend who passed away and the grief of losing the church and country after moving, God used the Prague church to mould me to be more like Jesus. And I am reminded that my goodbyes for Christians are temporary because I will see them again when I die.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
Psalm 133:1, KJV
The Answer to My Dilemma
Overall, I learned that God placed people in our paths for a purpose (Romans 8:28). Although I could not see the big picture, I took His Word by faith, and I try to focus on sowing the seeds in unsaved friends while fellowshipping and encouraging brethren. Of course, I wasn’t perfect throughout all of that. But by God’s mercies and grace, He was teaching me Himself, Jesus.
Jesus knew He would leave earth soon. Yet He called His disciples to follow Him; yet He reached individuals (e.g. the Samaritan woman) who were merely “passing by”; yet He healed the sick; yet He bore our sorrows. Yet He still died to pay the price of our sins and give us an eternal Home.
Additionally, I’ve learned something more. God made something good out of my constant losing and making new friends in short periods of time. That is, to draw me closer to Him, and through this, He’s my Best Friend. Not for a certain number of years, no. He’s my Best Friend for eternity.
So my dear fellow TCK, God’s purpose includes the people He brings into your life. I understand you may want to avoid the pain and grief of leaving them, but Jesus will bring you through your sorrow. And experiencing grief means that you have loved and cared for someone, that they impacted your life, that they became part of your life, and that they have shared memories with you.
And through sorrow, He will make you more compassionate to others who’re going through the same, just as Jesus is compassionate.
“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4, KJV
Remember, you have Jesus Christ, your Best Friend, who is always with you. As long as you trust Him, He’ll bring you through the pain and will help you to acknowledge the past, live in the present, and reach into the future. All at the same time while looking up for eternity.
In His love,
P.S. Feel free to email me anything regarding TCKs/ATCKs, or if you have a prayer request, and I will reply to you personally asap.
P.P.S. After much praying, I’ll be sending TCK letters once a month instead of alternate weeks due to my changing schedule.
P.P.P.S. Other TCKs and I are praying on starting a Christian TCK website in the future. Let me know if you’re interested.
Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.