As I write this we’re in London with some of our closest friends, heading to a board meeting where our husbands will work, and the wives will continue to play. We pray for them and drink tea. Or wine. It’s an arrangement I’m partial to.
Anyway, I wrote this post (below) a week or so ago and as I read back over it this morning before hitting “publish”, I think it is true, and hopefully helpful, but like most things, it’s certainly not the whole story.
We are blessed beyond belief with the relationships God has given us. If they are healthy, they ebb and flow. We weep together in one season and laugh together in another. Sometimes those seasons are one and the same. We give and take, rant and chatter and share vulnerably. We listen, and pray. A lot. We gather around a table or show up to help each other move or we write a note. We are all resourceful, important, trainable, nice, draining people…and somehow in the midst of doing life together we are changed. We are iron sharpening iron and I am so grateful that God has given us all to each other.
It seems like there’s been a recurring theme in a bunch of my conversations lately. It’s the DTR theme, and I don’t mean in the dating sense of the word.
John likes to tease that “Life would be great if it weren’t for all the people.” Most of us are in a plethora ( 🙂 like that word??) of relationships without a plethora of time to devote to all of them.
Sometimes it’s helpful to reflect and Define The Relationships in your life. Gordon MacDonald wrote years ago about five kinds of people that affect spiritual energy (in his book, Renewing Your Spiritual Passion). These have been really helpful to me in auditing my time commitment choices. Here’s what he lays out:
1. VRP – Very Resourceful People. People who IGNITE our passion: These people always make a positive contribution to our world. They are our role models or mentors. We look to them for wisdom. We gain energy from their courage and maturity. They are clearly an addition to who we are and what we are doing.
2. VIP – Very important people. People who SHARE our passion: This is our home-team. We are bundled together for a purpose and together we stimulate each other for better outcomes. We recognize that we’re better together.
3. VTP – Very Trainable People. People who CATCH our passion: These are very trainable people who catch our passion – like those we may mentor. Although this requires energy on our part, we are glad to invest because we sense the possibilities in them.
4. VNP – Very Nice People. People who ENJOY our passion: These are very nice people who come in large numbers and it’s nice to have them around. They clap, laugh and build our egos. But they do not add to our passion, nor do they seriously diminish it. They simply enjoy it.
5. VDP – Very Draining People. People who SAP our passion: These are very draining people who consume our passion relentlessly. We’re going to have these folks in our lives, but they require us to make some hard choices about boundaries.
It may seem mercenary to categorize people like this, but it’s a real dynamic we need to pay attention to if we are to serve effectively. Studies show that in five years we will become like the people we spend the most time with. None of these are an indictment on the value of others, just an honest assessment of the way they impact our energy and our character.
So as you look at your relationships is there a good balance of learning, collaborating, and investing? A balance of energizing relationships to balance out the draining ones?