I remember I loved making new friends my freshman year but I was also always excited to see my friends at home. And the first couple of breaks were awesome—we would catch up and just talk about our college experiences for hours. And then the more breaks we had, I just started to notice that we started to drift: in the things we talked about, the things we were interested in and the ways honestly that we were just living our lives. And it was hard—because it wasn’t what it used to be. We were two (or three or four) people that used to be inseparable and now I just wasn't relating/ not interested in the things that they were doing. And I don’t think I did it perfectly but here is what I learned from my experience of balancing friends who were and weren’t moving in the same direction as me:
You still get to be their friends. 2 Timothy 2:24 says “And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” No where in the bible does Jesus say that we can only be friends with people who look like us or talk like us or are walking in the same ways. We are called to be kind to everyone.
Continue to surround yourself by people who are following the ways of Jesus. We get to be friends with people who aren't moving in the same direction as us or may be on the other side of the planet than us. But those friendships will look different from the ones who are moving in the same direction as you. We need community that are going to call us higher. We need community that will encourage and uplift us. We need community that is going to show us more of who Jesus is.
Who you are in college doesn't have to change when you go home. The ways that God has moved in you in and through you in Athens still holds true wherever you are from. The ways that you have changed in your “college home” isn't disqualified as soon as you leave the city limits. The way that He has moved and the ways you have changed are meant to be carried everywhere you go. The way you love, the way you walk, and the choices you make in Athens should look the same at home.
Like I said, you can do both! You can continue to live the way God has called you to while being a friend to people who have not had the same transformation! Be wise - don’t put yourself in a situation where you are going to be influenced away from God’s best for you! Have lunch with your high school friends, have intentional conversation, invest in them personally & hear about the path they have chosen to walk on - ask good questions & beyond that share what you have experienced at school openly & honestly!
God, I thank you for the new friendships that have been made in college and I thank you for the friendships that have withheld through a lot of transition. I ask that you would come and be the center of our break. That we would be focused on You and the things above —whether break is easy or hard that we would look for You in it all.