I know it sounds like a simple question but this is actually a good time to put pencil to paper. Draw the picture to the left on a blank piece of paper with you at the center. Now begin adding dots with names above those dots at a distance from you in the center relative to how much you trust them and how emotionally close they are to you. Also consider how close they are to each other: if they are also emotionally close to each other, place those dots closer to each other on the page but still relative to you. Spend about 10 minutes populating your piece of paper. And then lastly, draw lines between each person and you, and indicate with arrows whether that relationship is one in which you primarily give, receive, or have a healthy give-and-take. Be honest with yourself. No one else is going to see your paper unless you show them.
Step back and observe your community; this is a snapshot of who is in your life now. Are they scattered all over the paper? How many people are on your paper? Are there people in the inner circle? Are they all in the inner circle? Is there a balance of giving and receiving across your community? Are there lots of people who draw your energy? Are you spending a lot of time and energy maintaining too many relationships? Who is not on your page but in your life? There are no right answers for everyone and no perfect pictures, but this does give us a view into our real support community.
Jesus provides a stunning model of healthy community. He had an inner circle of three people (of his twelve disciples) that he walked closer with than the others, Peter, and James and John, the two sons of Zebedee (Mark 5:7, Matthew 17:1). These are the ones he invited with him to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37). There were also the other nine disciples, all twelve of whom went with Him from place to place and who he sent out to other places to share the good news and heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2). We know he had a few other close and trusted friends such as Mary, Martha and Lazarus where he could relax and be refreshed by their company (Luke 10:38-42) but he did not see them all the time. And then there were his various other friends, supporters and acquaintances.
All relationships require commitment, testing, trials and an investment of time over time. As humans, we only have the capacity to really go deeper with one, or perhaps a few, but we can be richly blessed by and be a blessing to those who are in our other circles. You can always take steps to make your community more vibrant, balanced or supportive. Are there people that you believe God wants you to work toward deeper connection with? Or, on the other hand, are there people that you believe He wants you to create healthy distance from? Trusting people who are not trustworthy is not wise (Proverbs 2:12-16). What is one thing you can do today to begin the journey in deepening trusted relationships or releasing unhealthy people in your community?
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