Recently a woman commented on my large capacity for doing so many things at once. While it was supposed to be a compliment, I took it as a warning that I was about to hit the ceiling of busyness. I was on the verge of losing myself in activities, rather than enjoying the blessings that were in my life.
The good news is that we all can make an adult decision to take care of ourselves when we see our lives being choked out like freshly grown plants trying to survive in a thicket of weeds. Time is a precious commodity, but few use it to edifying themselves or to recharge their energy levels.
Bringing oneself back into a healthy perspective and workload takes a great deal of effort and requires us to know ourselves. For instance, a person like me gets significantly recharged whenever I stop by Walt Disney World (WDW), have a speaking engagement, or rest in the north woods of Wisconsin. My Saturday mornings seem to be the time when I get those smaller boosts of energy to cover any draining from the prior week.
While there are many possibilities for renewal, especially during those quiet times in the morning, I’ve learned my recharging pattern and found that a four day weekend every quarter and a few hours to myself every Saturday morning to be most effective.
Here is how I determined what energized me:
1. Observed my actions in every situation that brought a smile to my face and tried to determine what about it invoked the grin.
2. Determined what core characteristic or element of temperament the moment encouraged or fed.
3. Appreciated what and why something puts a smile on my face and embraced that which was good.
WDW is a great example. After finding my creativity skyrocket with every visit, I found that no other theme park or location impacted me creatively, with the one possible exception of a Hollywood sound stage in full swing.
I am a story person through and through, and when I learned that the entire WDW theme park was built around a large story, I understood why it impacted me as an old friend coming along side of me filled with encouragement.
When entering the Magic Kingdom, the first thing you see is a bed of flowers forming a giant Mickey Mouse. This matches the opening screen of many Disney shorts during Walt’s glory days. Next you enter the brief tunnel where the lockers are and you see numerous one sheets/posters lining the walls like the trailers of coming attractions. Each poster representing something you will soon see or take in.
Stepping from the tunnel into Main Street USA brings us to the opening credits, which of course are in full sight. Every window is painted with the names of those who made Walt Disney World a reality. In the distance, you can see a fantasy castle setting the tone for your time in the special kingdom like an opening scene does in a movie. I could continue drawing the parallels that Imagineers worked so hard to create, but I just wanted to give you a glimpse into why WDW recharges this storyteller.
When talking about how we recharge our batteries, there are many who will suggest that they sacrifice their dreams and desires for the sake of the kids or a spouse. While some may truly do that, most speak as though they were a martyr that is some how above others with their self-sacrificing role.
I sometimes wonder if that positioning is a form of self-appeasement to cover the person’s inability to tell loved ones what their true heartfelt needs are – Needs that are valuable in of it’s self. I wonder if these types of people act more like a doormat for others to take advantage of them, rather than giving freely to help others. Some might even couch their fears of advancing with words of self-inflicted martyrdom.
A believer once told me that God wanted living sacrifices, not the kind that cause grumbling or brings death. He suggested that the best sacrifice comes from a person’s abundance and encourages others to rise to their best level in life, regardless of any form of thanks. These are people who give from their overflow, not their moments of despair.
If we take care of ourselves first, then we are healthy and can pass on healthiness. If we’re drained, then we might pass on a sense of helpfulness or distorted love, which won’t be beneficial. It’s like being on an airplane when the oxygen masks drop down. You must put the mask on yourself before you can help someone else with theirs, otherwise you might pass out before helping them and you’ll both be in trouble.
While it may feel selfish at first, I promise you that taking time to recharge will create an overflow from which you can bless others. And, when you’re operating at full capacity and it seems like child’s play, you’ll realize that you were made by a God who wants you to soar like on eagles wings – Effortless soaring without having to flap your wings very often.