Last week I stumbled across a blog post and it’s as if the writer read my mind. Check out this authentic post by Lindsey Nobles. And make sure you at least glance through some of the comments.

Relationships are important. They are the substance of life, which means they’re worth intentional investment, right? But lately I’ve wondered if I’m a “mile wide and inch deep.” Maybe I’m trying to embrace the masses and neglecting the deeper rewards of a few invested, intimate relationships.

Picture it like this: Relationship are plants filling a garden. I have one large bucket of water. Up until now, I’ve tried to divvy up equally between all of the plants (except for my husband and children, which get the biggest chunks of me). A teaspoon here, a teaspoon there. Not nearly enough to make any of those plants vibrant. Some may survive, but they won’t be as life-giving as they could have been.

Based on Lindsey’s post and some of my own introspection, here are two possible solutions:

  • Make a spreadsheet with three columns: Important Friends, Negative Friends and Draining Friends. Fill up the spreadsheet with names and determine to invest 80% of time and resources in the first category of relationships.
  • Draw a dartboard. Put three or four of your most valuable relationships (besides family) in the bulls eye. These relationships need to get the majority of your focus. Everyone else will fall outside the bulls eye in order of priority. A few might need to fall off the board altogether.

Even Jesus “categorized” friendships: the Crowds, the Seventy-two, the Twelve, and the Three. Looks like a bulls-eye diagram to me. Still, I struggle with the idea of categorizing people and relationships. It feels as if it’s in direct opposition to God’s command to love others. Don’t all people deserve love? Don’t all people deserve investment? And haven’t I sometimes been in that latter category of negative and draining people? Thank heavens I had a few friends willing to stick by me and help me out of my rut,

I’m looking for the intersection between healthy boundaries and a God-kind-of-love. Where do you think it falls?

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