Sunday, July 17, 2016

Relational Equity

In every relationship be it friend, family, romantic, professional, or casual there is a relational account. In each interaction, you make either deposits or withdrawals. Some are superficial, some deep. As you think about your relationships and interactions with people, what does the ledger look like? Are there lots of deposits and investments? Are there some withdrawals? Does the ledger reflect a positive or negative balance? Do you have lots of small balance relationships? Maybe a few deep relationships that you've invested in significantly?

A kind word, phone call, or text message can make a nice deposit and just like consistent saving and investing in your personal finances can grow into something substantial, relational deposits can grow and build deep and meaningful relationships over time. Quality time together, going to the park, getting lunch, hiking with them, shared experiences, a hug, high five, back rub, going to church together, praying for them, sending a card, running together, hosting a party for them, cooking a meal, fixing their car, cleaning their house, pet sitting for them, covering for them at work, mentoring them, encouraging them, bringing them flowers or their favorite dessert, going on a trip with them. Any of these can make a positive investment and build relational equity.

Sometimes it will cost time, money, energy, or opportunities to make the investment and sometimes it will be simple and easy and effortless.

It's not a matter of what you can get out of someone else but that can be a natural by product. There will be times when you need other people physically, emotionally, socially, professionally, their influence, expertise, wisdom, etc. and when you've already built relational equity with them it's much easier for them to want to help you and go to bat for you.

Some relationships take investment over a long period of time and don't always produce immediate fruit but while investing in people can be messy at times, it can also be rewarding. People are worth the investment more times than not and can bear wonderful dividends.

Building relational equity and investing in people also increases your influence. Not only do you grow a deeper personal relationship with one person but everyone they interact with can be positively affected by you as well.

Just as positive interactions create good will and deposits into a relationship, so too can negative ones. A cutting remark, gossip, making fun of someone even in casual jest, or any number of other negative actions all create negative equity in the relationship and can undo prior deposits. Some relationships start with a negative balance and can be difficult to restore to a positive state. While it's important to be wise by setting boundaries with people who take advantage of you, seeking reconciliation and making amends is good to pursue when possible.

Take a minute to think of the people in your family, your friends, those you work with, and neighbors. How would you classify your relational equity with them? Is there a relationship that could use a deposit? Who is someone you need or want to make an investment in? How can you use your time, energy, resources, wisdom, expertise, and influence to invest in people and build relational equity this week?

In pursuit of His best,

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