Key 4: Develop A Budget For Each Level Of Your Relationship | Nine Keys to Healthy Relationships

The fourth thing you have to do is develop a budget for each level of your relationships. 

Every relationship works better for both people when there are dimensions of the relationship that are established from the beginning. In other words, you have to know what the expectations are. How much are you pouring in, and what do you expect to receive from them? Determine how far you are willing to go and how much you are willing to invest in that relationship. And to do that, you better get to know somebody very well before you enter into a covenant relationship.

Before you get committed in a covenant relationship, whether that’s a marriage, a business, or a friendship, you better get to know that person, and getting to know that person sometimes takes time. Anybody can falsely market themselves for a season, and people do it all the time. They sell themselves as beautiful, quiet, meek, and laid back. Then two years into the marriage they have an “in your face” attitude.

Remember that God is never in a hurry. It is line upon line, precept upon precept. The enemy, however, is hasty, fast, and corrupt. “I have to do it right now! I’m in love! I’m in love! I’m in love!” I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but that is just lust. Let it pass. You’ll be okay.

When you are entering in a covenant relationship, you need to develop a budget. 

That means you take into consideration the assets and the deficits, the withdrawals and the deposits. You must know the limits for what you can give, because you can give and do a good thing, and you can give and give and give and never get anything back.

Eventually you can end up dropping over dead as Dorcas did (Acts 9:36–43). She was making widow garments, which is hard to top on the “doing good” chart. But even though it was good, she gave more than she received back, and she eventually depleted so much of herself that she collapsed and died. In relationships where you do all the giving, if you don’t have a place or a person or something that is restoring you and replenishing you, you will pay a huge price. You might not physically die, but there are areas in your life that are dying right now because you are always giving out and never receiving back.

Granted, there are times when there are people in life to whom you are assigned to give, give, and give. But every once in a while, whether it is for an hour, a day, or a month, you need to be separated from them. There is a time for giving to and caring for and nurturing, and there is a time you need to be revived, replenished, and nourished yourself.

Every once in a while, God says, “I call these people out of your life, so I can speak back to you.” In Dorcas’s case, he sent the apostle Peter to speak a special word to her: “Live.” Occasionally you need somebody in your life who speaks one word to you. They aren’t there with a motive or an agenda, and they aren’t there to get anything from you. They are there to breathe and speak life to you. They cause you to dream, to believe, to see, and you need that person who is pouring life into you and not just taking it from you. It’s wonderful to be a giver, but if all you ever do is give, you will be like the sponge that everybody wrings dry and is no good to anyone, including yourself.
You need a relationship that pours life back into you; that nurtures you.
You also need to realize that the more you are responsible for in life, the smaller your circle gets. The more you grow in God, the smaller your circle gets. For example, when God gave the Law to the children of Israel, over two million people were all around at the base of the mountain. When Moses and Joshua started going up the mountain, Joshua only went halfway up. The higher Moses went, the smaller the circle became, until ultimately he was the only one at the top (Exodus 19). When you grow and go up higher in life, you have more responsibility in life, and your circle will get smaller.

As you mature spiritually and take on more responsibility, you will need to learn how to sustain yourself and pour life back into yourself. You need to learn to “drink water from your own cistern” (Proverbs 5:15). You have transitioned off the dependency of other people and discovered how to sustain your life independently. I am not saying you don’t need other people, because you do. I am just saying you are going to have less people, because you have more responsibility because God is calling you to a higher level!

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Adapted from Paula White-Cain's best selling book "I Don't Get Wholeness...That's the Problem!"
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