#10 Pursue People 30-30 Challenge

Two people who had a big influence on this perspective in my life were Jane Armstrong and Mark Brown, two staff of a Christian ministry I was very involved with as as student in college. 

Jane would say in her little southern accent “You never know when God is going to bring your next best friend into your life.” Jane had an incredible ministry with women for over 25 years by the time I was a student and I graduated awhile ago. Flocks of women around the country met Christ through Jane. Women lived in and out of her just-off-campus house. The thing with Jane is, she was just kind. People would be around Jane for 5 minutes and just feel SO loved. (She is still kind just fyi.. I just haven’t seen her in ages so kinda talking in past tense!) And the life lesson from Jane stuck. I heard it many times over my 4 years at Miami.. but I also saw it lived out in her life. Jane was open and kind to people and often would end up friends with someone she’d never expect. It has shaped me most definitely. 

Mark had a guys take on things. I remember him talking about how he coached men to not be passive (the direct sin of the Fall many men carry today! Men – man-up! It’s a very attractive quality. The opposite is not!) He challenged them to be pursuers and be initiators. I remember him talking about guys complaining and him pushing them /kicking their butts that THEY needed to be the one to pursue people and not wait around. One of my favourite discipleship moments was hearing he would occasionally not show up for a meeting with a guy on purpose to see if the 20 year old had the guts to call him up and ask what happened instead of shrinking and waiting for people to come along and find them. Character development was the goal. Mark told our movement over and over not to wait but to make a decision to be a pursuer of people. It wasn’t an accident. It often needed to be a decision of the will to pursue others. 

I have found that a rewarding and challenging and freeing endeavor. I have pursued people for many years. I have been met with pain sometimes. But I have been met with the greatest of rewards in friendships I’d never have expected or people I delved in deeper in life with because I learnt to not wait around for someone to become my friend but to step out and love people and risk a little and be real. In some ways it’s hard. People don’t always pursue you back. The best way to pursue people and to be free is to check your expectations that they will pursue you back. Do it expecting nothing in return. And then, if you can honestly do that (and not fake it, it won’t work if you are saying you checked them but still have them in actuality) I have found like Jane says.. friends in places I’d never expect.. you never know when God is going to bring your next best friend into your life. It is true. I have a great assortment of friends who are like sisters and brothers to me I would not have picked and if you laid them all out.. they are so different from one another: friends and cultures and personalities and backgrounds and temperaments that are wide ranging. Yet I cherish them so much. 

Pursuing people can mean people are in your life for a season and go. You can’t keep in touch with everyone or stay as close as you’d like. I pursue some people who have been friends for over a decade or two and then there are people who come for a season.. you move, they move.. something like that and you aren’t as in touch anymore.  That is okay. Pursuing people doesn’t mean you are with everyone forever.. though the life lessons, laughter, exchanges of truth and beauty and challenges from those who have come and gone I still hold dear. 

But aside from that… what Mark has said.. most people wait for people to come to them to pursue them.. be a person who pursues others. It has taught me so much about love. About selflessness. About my selfishness. About how many amazing people are on God’s green earth. It has taught me to love difficult people. It has taught me how to serve and not expect things in return. It has taught me unexpectedly that serving and not expecting in return ends up gaining you rewards in friendship you’d have never expected. People who are wonderful who respond back and stay in your lives for a long time… 

I could post photos on here for a long time… but here are the few.. some have relentlessly pursued me when I have not and some I have pursued.. all I have found the better life is from them and am grateful to Mark and Jane for their life lessons on people as well as the Lord.. 

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