You see, my emotional battery is on negative.
Let me give you my recent energy-suckers: I’ve
directed three weekend retreats and one board of
directors meeting in the last month. Today, besides
the normal workload, I’ve dealt with one suicidal
teenager, one guy who’s decided to move toward
the gay lifestyle, and one really, really ticked
So what do you do during those super-depleted
and empty times?
- Give yourself permission to take a break—
without guilt. Granted, I haven’t ditched my own
youth service in years. But tonight that’s exactly
what I’m doing. Remember, no one can put you on a
guilt trip unless you buy the ticket.
- Turn off your cell phone and computer. (I’ll
turn mine off right after I meet my deadline for this
column.) There’s a reason those devices have power
buttons. Take control of the one million worlds that
keep demanding another piece of you.
- Do something that’s relaxing, fun, and/or
renewing for you. If I gave in to my guilt, I’d justify
my decision to skip the youth service by plunging
into a little serious Bible study tonight. Nope. I’m
washing my hair, eating an ice cream bar, and
watching FOX News! Even a couple of hours of
downtime can make all the difference in the world.
Keep your mouth shut and make no major
decisions. When I’m emotionally depleted, I can
easily overreact and make stupid decisions—like
telling that angry mom I dealt with today what I
really think of her parenting skills! Just remember
that you regret very few words that you don’t say.
Most of all, I’m telling myself, This, too, shall
pass. Your emotions are like the battery on your car:
You can jump-start them sometimes, but there’s also
a point where you need to stop the motion and let
So while my youth leaders are running the
service, I’m about to watch TV. Wow…that sounds
pretty awful. I’m sure Jesus will understand, though,
especially if I offer him an ice cream bar.