Today’s “Pruning” post is from Eve Annunziato. Eve works for Mercy Ministries as the Church Relations Director and is a close friend. She is wise about a lot of stuff, about parenting, about God, about pursuing your passions, but she is especially wise about relationships. So thankful to have her speaking into my life.
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What an honor to post for my dear generous, loving, selfless, and fantastic friend, Lindsey. Isn’t she incredibly amazing!? Linds asked me to guest blog today to discuss pruning your relationships. And, when Lindsey Nobles asks you to do something, well, you don’t hesitate! None-the-less, after pondering the topic, I thought about the last time Lindsey shared my views about this exact subject right here, and honestly it was rather controversial. And much to my chagrin, many folks frankly took what I was saying out of context. So I decided this post would take a more positive point of view. So here it is… But first, I will respond to the naysayers from that last post: it’s NEVER EVER healthy to surround yourself with draining, negative people who bring you down and make you depressed – even if you’re a Christ follower. However, we must graciously pray, love, forgive ALL people, including the crazies – but from a distance.
Topping my list of goals for 2010 is to live in the present, go second, and maintain work-life balance by focusing, loving and being grateful for my VIPs (Very Important People). I want to ensure my relationships with my VIPs are a priority. In times of busyness, I used to have tendencies to shelve my healthy relationships and focus on generally unhealthy so-called friends who didn’t really like me – my VDPs (Very Draining People) and VNPs (Very Negative People). NOT ANYMORE. Why put an effort toward folks that suck the life out of you and form only conditional, one-way relationships? I call those people, “Flavor of the month friends!” They use you for a season to get what they need and then move on to other relationships…
As all of you know, the effect of relationships in our lives simply cannot be overemphasized. When they are in a positive healthy state, tranquility is easy to find. When they go sour, stress, depression and even physical fatigue can result. Because it’s so important to foster our relationships with those with whom we care most about, our VIPs, we should purposely place a higher priority on them.
Author Gary Chapman makes a very pivotal point for relationships when he writes, “When your spouse’s emotional needs are met and he or she feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach his or her highest potential in life.” Right then, it hit me: It’s not just enough to think about how much I love my most valuable players in life, I have to make sure and tell them. It’s a daily decision to often put the emotional needs of my spouse, children, mom, dad, sister, nephews and best friends before my own.
There’s a healthy way to love, to be loved, and to be intimate. Quality relationships require patience, consistency and attention. Too many times, because the rest of life wears us out, we just don’t have the energy to put toward the commitment. In reality, you’re likely going to have to rearrange schedules, drop some activities and not commit to so many other things that keep you from putting your full energy into your family and other significant relationships. Studies have shown 85% of our joy comes from our nourishing relationships.
Ask yourself this after a conversation with your fav peeps: “Did I make that person feel better or worse about themselves about their life?” After all, people are already besieged by doubt and surrounded by negativity that can affect us profoundly on an emotional level. One of my top goals is to make certain that after every VIP conversation, the people I love, admire, and respect feel more confident about their situation; about their life. As we head toward a very chaotic (that at times makes us neurotic) holiday season, make a concerted effort to spend quality time with your loved ones and it will fill your emotional tank and your heart! This is exactly the reason why I try to spend as much time with this girl as possible!
Abraham Lincoln said it poignantly, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Amen, Abe!
Let’s start putting some life back in YOUR years by spending quality time, appreciate and love your VIPs with all of your heart and soul.