Notice I didn’t title this “Making Time for Healthy Relationships”.
Do you know why?
Because if we only make time, and fail to make room, we will end up giving other important things in our lives less time than they deserve.
There are two things we must remember when considering investing in our healthy relationships
1. Every person only has limited capacity
Let’s do a little activity together. Shall we?
- Take a sheet of paper and long-ways down the paper write the numbers 1-24. Now, block out numbers 1-6 and 22-24. This is when you sleep (we’re doing military time to keep my instructions clear).
- Now you have hours 7-22 to fill.
- Block out time to spend with the Lord.
- Block out the hours you work.
- Block out the time you wish to spend with family.
- Block out time to eat
- Block out at least one hour of “margin space”. This is “you time” – and it is much needed if you plan to remain somewhat sane.
What you have left is what you are able to give to others.
This is a little sobering, isn’t it?
This is why our inner circle must remain small. We have a limited capacity to give to those outside of family and our daily responsibilities. When we factor in what we give to our churches, it becomes even more limited.
If we choose to make time and fail to make room, we will “unblock” one of those blocked areas we talked about above. Either it will be family time, margin space time or sleep time. Neither of those three should be an option.
Sure, we can cut into those times as an exception, but our inner circle should be a rule, not an exception.
2. Whatever we run out of room for reveals our priorities.
When we continually cram stuff into our lives, we will eventually run out of space. This is an unhealthy practice because usually the first thing we sacrifice is margin time. We often sacrifice our hobbies and time we need to decompress, which only heightens our stress levels because we have no time unwind from our day.
The next thing we sacrifice is sleep.
Notice that these two areas we sacrifice are areas that give to ourselves. We are generally willing to sacrifice in these two areas because we don’t want to be “selfish”.
But we fail to realize that giving to ourselves isn’t always selfish.
Giving to ourselves can actually be self-less because by giving to ourselves we are boosting our ability to give more to others.
Giving to ourselves is much like gassing up the car.
Our car isn’t selfish because it demands a refill on a regular basis. No, it demands a refill so it can continually serve our needs. It is the same with us.
When we choose to make ourselves a priority, we are enabling ourselves to give 100% in the other areas where we have chosen to make a priority.
How do we make room for healthy relationships?
1. List all of your present responsibilities, their obligations and deadlines.
2. List the hobbies you regularly participate in and how often you give time to those hobbies.
3. List all other activities you tend to give time to, their obligations and deadlines.
4. Ask yourself, which area can I sacrifice time in to give to this relationship?
Remember, before you take something in, you must let something else go. If the relationship is a priority, you will easily find an activity that is of lesser value to you that you will easily be able to relinquish in order to invest in your inner circle.
A healthy relationship requires an investment: an investment in yourself so that you have the necessary resources to give to others and an investment in others that will have abundant returns!
This article is part of a multi-part series on Building Healthy Relationships. View the rest of the articles here:
- Rosilind, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an Associates of Practical Theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.