When my kids were growing up, they played a lot of video games. My parents always ensured that the kids had the latest console, and they had games, lots of games. DDR caused the house to shift on its foundations late at night, Madden was constant background noise in our house, and the myriad of games that rolled across the screens in our home seemed endless. Of all the things, I miss about my kids growing up, this isn’t one.
I did learn some things from the years I spent playing and observing video games. You have to watch your energy. The rigors of jumping, rolling, tucking, and diving takes their toll, and if you don’t watch your energy, you won’t make it to the goal.
I feel like I’m just learning this in my real life. I tend to be a go, go, go girl. I take on too much, hate to miss anything and fill my calendar to unhealthy levels. Usually, these are all good things, a meal with a friend, a family event, a movie night, or another church group. For the most part, I can tuck and roll with the best of them, but during really strenuous seasons I can find myself dangerously depleted. And if I’m honest, this style of living often leaves me too little energy for some of the best things.
Grandpa Malone used to tell me that it was as easy to fill the top half of my tank as it was the bottom. I didn’t quite understand back then. Instead, I would scrounge 87 cents from the carpet of my car to add more gas and keep going. But these days, I think I’m learning.
I try to live my life as if it is to be given away. In many ways, this is an expression of faith and love. I want my life to be a positive impact in the world around me. I want to touch hearts and lives. I want to be a good friend. I want to love my family well. I want to serve my community. I want to be an excellent employee. I want to connect with my people. All of these are good things.
I am learning, however, that in order to do these good things well over the long haul, I’m going to have to manage my energy better. I’m going to have to find rhythms of rest and engagement. I’m going to have to step in and out, mixing service with rest and community with solitude. I am going to need to care for my own soul in the quiet places in order to impact the world around me.
For too long, I’ve focused on managing my time. I thought if I could just be a better steward of my hours and minutes, I could fit more in. In truth, the calendar is only part of the equation. I also need to be in touch with my internal gauges. I need to monitor my energy, vitality, and endurance levels in order to ensure that I have resources for the most important things.
I am shocked by how much time alone I need to actually feel healthy. I solitude to process, to unwind, and make sense of my life. After a week of intentional withdrawal from the demands of the world, Steph said to Tyler, “You know when mom has downtime. She’s been thinking about stuff!” It’s true.
These days I am looking for some intentional rhythm around this new dance. I still don’t want to miss out on anything, I love to go and connect. But, I also recognize that my energy is not infinite. I need to take responsibility for my vitality and my energy and learn to nurture it. I’m committed to learning to guard my heart, my time, and my resources. This means I will be carving out time before I’m exhausted to recharge and reconnect with the most important things. It may mean I have to say not now to some things I would love to do. But, I think over time I’ll be able to last longer and play better. Isn’t that the goal?