Running On Empty

When I was a teenager I would drive my father crazy when I would call him to tell him that my car “broke down” when in fact I had run out of gas. When he would discover that I had been driving on empty he would lecture me about the dangers to the engine when you run it that low. I would love to tell you that I have grown into a more responsible adult, but even as I type this my gas gauge is on empty. (Don’t tell my husband- this drives him crazy now!)

There is an obvious parallel here to my emotional “tank.”  There are activities that fill me up with energy and passion and others that drain me. I can tell when my tolerance is low, my patience is thin and my energy is waning that I am running on empty. If I don’t realize it and do something about it breakdown (or meltdown) is inevitable. And that ain’t pretty!

 I have only just recently started to pay attention to this and here are some interesting things I’ve discovered.

  • Just because something drains me emotionally it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do it or that it’s not good for me. Some of the most emotionally taxing things I do are the most rewarding. However, if I know that going into them, then I can plan something emotionally filling around it in order to avoid running on empty. For example, if I engage in an Extreme Makeover with FTGI in the morning, where we serve women in a shelter, I need to be careful about what else I take on that day. From experience I know that I will be in a better place emotionally the next day if I pair that activity with a quiet evening connecting with my husband or maybe going to a movie both of which are emotional fillers for me.
  • Just because something is physically exhausting it doesn’t mean that it is emotionally draining. For example, some people (not me) find running emotionally filling. For me, I am emotionally charged after a FTGI Girls Night Out even though I’m usually physically exhausted.
  • When I am emotionally balanced I can endure more physically. I guess that’s a no-brainer but I have had to learn the hard way that if I am not striking emotional balance in my life I feel myself dragging physically.
  • If I am running low and don’t have time to fill up ~ a little bit will go a long way and will prevent running out completely. I remember times when I was low on cash and would only be able to put $5 in my tank but it would at least get me to my next stop.  Sometimes just a few hours of solitude, time to read a little, pray a little and take a few deep breaths does wonders for my state of mind and keeps me going until I can really fill up.

Take a minute to think about the things that drain you and the things that fill you up and make sure that you are finding a balance between the two this week.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13