Have you ever felt that there just wasn’t enough of you to go around?
Have you ever felt that you are being pulled in too many directions?
Do you feel that you are surrounded by wonderful people but that you don’t get to relate to and enjoy them as much as you would like?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may be confusing “loving people” with “relating to people”.
Jesus’ call to love everyone isn’t a call to be in relationship with everyone. It’s impossible to be in relationship with everyone. Relationship requires effort, sacrifice, and time, and we only have limited amounts of those things. You only have 24 hours in a day, and you can’t stay awake for all of that for very long without suffering severe physical consequences. We have even less attention to give in a day than we do hours. You can only shove so many relationships into your life. Everyone won’t fit.
People who feel that they should relate to everybody equally have weaker and less satisfying relationships. I realize that the preceding statement is heavy, but it’s true. It feels judgmental to choose to relate to some people and not others. It feels better to simply say, I will relate to everyone and exclude no one. The problem, however is that when you attempt to relate equally to everyone who pursues you for friendship or relationship, you will inevitably run out of time and energy at some point. When that happens it's impossible relate to more people. Not only that, you will be spent, and there will be very little of you left to relate to. Like it or not, you will be excluding people at that point. As much as we hate to admit it, the real question is not whether we will exclude people or not, but who will we exclude.
Healthy relational people make deliberate choices about where they will invest themselves relationally. You are going to make a relational impact in your life. Where you will make it and how deep will that impact be? Who gets the majority of your time? Who gets the majority of your focused attention? Where do you invest your affection? Are you getting a good return on your investment? Are the people that you say you love the most getting the best of you, or the leftovers?
If these questions have whet your appetite for relational growth, and you are eager to take the first step, stop back in at the blog tomorrow for how to take the first steps. Also, take a second and become a follower of this blog or leave a comment. I would love to hear your feedback. I look forward to meeting you back here soon!
Photo Courtesy of Death To Stock Photo