Doing Life with Your People

Disclaimer:  My husband has informed me that this blog is written from an introverted world view.  I think it is actually painted with a broader brush, but if you are extroverted and find this limiting (or offensive)…forgive me…it is only meant to encourage…and give permission to those who are feeling a bit over-committed as they kick off 2015.

Recently I have been devouring the words of some of my favorite authors.  While in the US, books and blogs have been consumed like pumpkin spice lattes.  Several of my favorites have  written words referencing, “their people.”   I get it.  We all have our people.  We also interact with people regularly (often on a daily basis) who are not our people.   The more I thought about this the more I realized how often we unintentionally are making loads of space in our schedule for those who actually sap our energy as opposed to give energy.

Speaking of human beings in this way appears harsh and of course we desire to bring warmth to all humankind.  But my wheels began to turn as the words, “my people,” and “not my people,” reverberated in my head.

In life I believe there are multitudes and masses of people with whom we interact that are not our people.  Folks who are not our people can simply be others that need and demand our time and attention.    Work or other daily responsibilities connect us with so many different people and personalities.  We often bump in to people at the store or our child’s school who need us.   The person on the other end trying to up-sell you on your cable plan is NOT your people.  Some of these people immediately take our energy…and we leave depleted and exhausted.  Others are quite delightful and even interesting and inspiring and we leave having no idea we have expended more energy or TIME than we had in reserve.  (Introverts read: energy.  Extroverts read: time.)   Many of us–especially women–are awesome at NOT saying no.  Fearful to disappoint or hoping for approval, we make all people our people.  But we grow weary…because some people…bless them…are NOT our people.  They are precious human beings, but at the end of the day, our tank is more empty than full if we spend the majority of our time interacting with those that are not our people.

I shouldn’t have to do this…but to be clear:  “Your people” is certainly the immediate one you chose if you have a significant other.  (And any little ones you made or brought in to your fold through this union.)  Your people might be a sister, neighbor or a few close friends.  Your people are easy to be around.  Confidantes.  Think “circle of trust.”  Your people are folks who make your life…lighter.  Brighter.  Those people are your people.

We are built to be in relationship.  After spending time in a very remote part of the world I felt this in an acute way.  We need others…and not just any others…but others who share our values…who are walking similar journeys…who in essence:  get us.  Without our people we begin to lose perspective, we become embittered, and even lonely.  Day in and day out you may interact with dozens of people…but if one or two are not “your people” you may really start to grow depleted relationally.

The importance of knowing who your people are and who they are not is more significant than I ever realized.  Our people bring health, life, joy and perspective.  They bring laughter, energy, growth…our people bring good things.  People that are not our people can sometimes bring those things, but not consistently or in the most fundamental and natural ways.

Are you suggesting we do life ONLY with our people???  By no means.  Sometimes we need to linger at Starbucks chatting with our barista.  Sometimes our new neighbor needs a phone call to check in and see how the transition is going.   Sometimes we need to have a heart to heart with a co-worker who is experiencing loss.  Our life should be sensitive and loving toward all people.   That said, I am suggesting that we identify our people.  Treasure and value them.  Be intentional in our time with them.  Do life with those people.  Do not let the people who are not your people monopolize or guilt you in to more than you can offer or give.

Your people are your people for a reason.  Do your best to do your best by those people.

If you are struggling with “making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands,” check out Lysa Terkeurst’s, the Best Yes.

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,

Jenni

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