As most of you have learned by now, there are parts of your life that are hard and draining. There are other parts that are rejuvenating and replenishing. Much of the rest of it can be mundane. Many of us from my generation and earlier, were taught to do the hard work and if there was time left over, do the joyful, fun things. Rarely was there time left over for fun.
We need work and play to have balance and health to our lives. The same goes for the friends we have. We need variety there. Some give more, others take more.
Fortunately, I married someone who had a different philosophy. He definitely had a good work ethic, but it was a healthy one. You make time for fun as well as work in order to be healthy. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I realized how healthy this really was. I was struggling with chronic pain that was actually related to emotional pain from my childhood. Yes, I had been in a car accident. But the pain was way out of proportion to the injury. I always had long to-do lists and had difficulty feeling comfortable taking time off for fun until I started learning how to do it. My children often had to teach me how to do it.
Taking time out for lunch or coffee/tea with friends or family helps. So does going for a manicure! Could I be saving the money? Maybe. But I can also learn that the value of time spent with a daughter or friend is also worthwhile too!
If you feel depleted, pay attention. Are you around more drainers than encouragers? Sometimes, we have to go through seasons like this, but it isn’t meant to last a long time. You need to pay attention and find places for joy that GOD provides.
It is important for you to recognize the things and people that are draining for you. Don’t jam them all into one day. Or if you have do, take some time to refresh after. Does a worship service refresh your spirit? Make sure you find a way to get that into your week. What is it about that time that refreshes? A certain kind of music? The sound of the congregation singing together? The encouraging words of the pastor as He reads the words of the pardon from sin from GOD’s Word?
Is there something about it that is draining? Why? It helps to understand what encourages and what drains about the worship service in your church.
Who are the people and activities that invigorate you in your everyday life? Make sure you get them into your week or month. If you don’t, the draining people and activities will get you down. How many times have you gotten too busy to be around the encouraging people and found yourself feeling even more down?
What is it about the draining people and activities that drain you? Is it because you are an introvert that people tend to drain you? Why are some more draining than others? Are you around a lot of negative people?
Obviously, we have to keep some of the the drainers in our lives. Others, we may not cross paths with very often. You may need outside help in dealing with some of these people, especially when you may be married to one…or one of your kids may be one, or a boss, or…
Is this a way of learning to live without Jesus? It could be, but I am not encouraging it. What I am encouraging is our asking GOD to open our eyes to what is going on around us. Pay attention to the drainers and the invigorators around you. Where are they? Ask GOD to show you where they are and what place they are to play in your life? He has a place for each one.
I’m not ignoring our need for Jesus. Yes, we need Him of course. He is a major source of joy when nothing in our circumstances explain it. But we also need to pay attention to some of these other factors even though they are secondary. We can find ourselves so surrounded by people who are impossibly self-centered that we realize we are drained, sucked dry of resources! We don’t know why! This is why!!
Just pay attention to the drainers and depleters around you…as well as the encouragers, and invigorators. We all need them in our lives to feel alive and hopeful. And make sure you aren’t a depleted to others.
These Scriptures give needed balance to my comments.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak,
and not to please ourselves.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written,
“The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction,
that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.
May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to live in such harmony with one another,
in accord with Christ Jesus,
that together you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore welcome one another
as Christ has welcomed you,
for the glory of God.
Romans 15:1-7 ESV
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you
and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged,
being knit together in love,
to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding
and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,
rooted and built up in him and established in the faith,
just as you were taught,
abounding in thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:1-3, 6-7 ESV