A Good Reason to Stay

Andrew Bunt 1 month ago
Blog 2 mins
Found in: Family & Friends
‘Do you think you’ll stay living here long-term? Any plans to move?’

I get asked these sorts of questions surprisingly often. I’m never quite sure what’s lying behind the questions. Are they implying I’ve outstayed my welcome, or are they hoping I’ll be around for the next few decades? I’ll continue to assume (or at least hope) it’s the latter until people start pointing me to other locations or other jobs!

Since this seems to be a fairly common question, I’ve come up with a default answer: ‘I’m open to a move, but I’m not actively looking’. I think that accurately represents the truth, but it also avoids inviting too much further conversation on the point.

Recently though, I caught myself having an interesting internal dialogue about these conversations:

‘I don’t know if I still am so open to a move if an opportunity were to come up. I wouldn’t want to leave the friendships I have here.’

But I quickly checked myself:

‘I shouldn’t let friendships hold me back from moving.’

At which point I paused, before thinking:

‘Or maybe I should. Would that be so wrong?’

It was an interesting thought process and one that stuck with me for a little while. (And yes, I have basically just admitted that I talk to myself, but who doesn’t, really?)

My initial instinct was that I shouldn’t allow friendships to hold me back if a good opportunity were to emerge. But why was I thinking that? It seems I instinctively think that a good job opportunity or living in an exciting city is more important than friendships. But when I stop to examine that, I’m not sure it is what I believe, or at least it’s not what I want to believe.

I sometimes wonder what it will be like to be on my deathbed. (You’re getting a lot of insight into my internal world in this post!) In particular, I think about what I might regret as I look back. It helps me keep things in perspective. When I do that, I realise that the thing I think I’m most at risk of regretting is not investing enough time in friendships. Good friendships are one of the greatest joys in my life. I’d go so far as to say that God has designed us in such a way that that should be true of all of us. That means friendships are one of the most important things in life, full stop.

Friendships are one of the most important things in life.

And yet, often, we don’t instinctively think that way. We think that having our dream job or living in our dream city or being accomplished in some impressive hobby is what really matters. And we might be quite inclined to sacrifice friendship for the sake of these bigger goals. We live in a culture where friendship is pretty near the bottom of the pecking order for what’s important in life, and therefore it plays a pretty small role in our decision-making.

But if friendship is actually – or should actually be ­­– very important, perhaps it should play a much bigger role in decision making. Perhaps friendships would be a good reason to stay in a place. Perhaps I need to work on more deeply valuing the importance of friendships. And I wonder, if we’re honest, if many of us do.

So, am I open to moving? Yes, if I clearly sense God in it. But in making a decision, I’d now put friendships pretty near the top of the list of factors to consider. I don’t think it would be wrong for me to move if it seemed like the right thing to do, but I also don’t think it would be wrong for me to stay because of friendships. In fact, I think friendships could be a very good reason to stay.