Following Jesus Because of Friendship, not Lordship.
Have you ever seen the movie “Wreck it Ralph 2?” The first time I saw this “kids movie”, I was expecting it to be light-hearted entertainment, but boy was I wrong! It was an unusually profound
movie, and the Lord (aka Jehovah Sneaky) used this movie to initiate some painful introspection in my life.In the movie, Ralph and his best friend, Vanellope, journey into the land of the internet in order to save their old arcade world. Right in the middle of their adventure, Vanellope ends up wanting to stay in the “internet world” to follow her dreams instead of going back home with Ralph.
One line in the movie that resonated with me profoundly was when another character told Vanellope this:
“Just because you are best friends, doesn’t mean you have to have the same dreams.”
This hit me like a freight train, especially because it spoke right to my deepest desire & dream – the dream to run hard & long after Jesus & His Kingdom with my best friends. At the time of the movie, one of my best friends, who I had lived with and served in missions with for 6+ years, was in the middle of a huge transition overseas to follow the dream God had put on her heart. Although this was exciting for her, it was incredibly difficult for me to celebrate her leaving.
I was grieving the season of friendship that was coming to an end, and it was so painful to face my own regrets, loneliness, and the reality of my deepest dream being taken away 1 friend at a time.In the midst of this transition, I KNEW Jesus was inviting me to closer friendship with Him, but instead, I gave Him a response He wasn’t necessarily asking for. In my mind, I “nobly” counted the costs and responded to Him out of lordship and surrender – to continually say yes, even if it meant dealing with loneliness and a core dream of mine not being met.
Jesus is worthy of hard transitions… & loneliness. Of course I was still going to follow Him. But, without realizing it, I started to cope by looking to other friends for comfort, only to have it immediately uprooted from me again and again. In the span of 1 year, 3 of my best friends have gone through, or is currently going through, major transitions and consequently, I was a wreck. Jesus’ pursuit was so gentle, but unrelenting.When I was somewhat forced to face the effect of these transitions and the pain it was causing me, I finally admitted that deep inside, I believed that following Jesus meant I would eventually have to say goodbye to all my closest friends. In other words, following Jesus meant loneliness, and it meant my dream would never be fulfilled. I felt angry, sad, and frustrated… and in that place, JESUS.MET. ME!
I asked Him for the truth in that painful moment, and I felt, again, more than anything, the longing of His heart to be my closest and dearest friend.That same invitation that He gave me a year ago when my friend was moving overseas was offered again, and with tears, I cried out to Jesus and finally responded to His invitation to let Him become my closest friend. I realized that last year I had responded to Jesus out of lordship, but didn’t actually respond the way He desired. He said to me,
“Eunice, I want you to follow Me not because of lordship but because of FRIENDSHIP; not because you have to, or because I’m worthy, but because you want to lay down your life for your closest friend.”
*CUE UGLY CRY*
The longing in my heart to run after Jesus & the Kingdom with my best friends was a mere glimpse of
HIS LONGING and HIS DREAM to run after the Kingdom with HIS BEST FRIENDS!!
That’s me! AND YOU. Jesus is most definitely our Lord, and He’s most definitely worthy of every costly sacrifice… but OH how He longs to be LOVED, and KNOWN, and FOLLOWED because He is our closest friend! He is the friend we’ve always longed for. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
He will NEVER leave us. He comforts us. He meets our every need. He satisfies us to the core. He makes us belly laugh! He longs for us to confide in Him, and turn to Him first when we are in pain. And His dream is to establish His Kingdom with & through His best friends. We truly do not have another friend like Jesus…and my greatest dream now is to fulfill His dream of being my closest friend.
-Eunice|| YWAM KC STAFF-