We are over halfway through John Opalewski’s Unshakable You: 5 Choices of Emotionally Healthy People. Some of these five choices involve very difficult work and can feel overwhelming and even exhausting at times.
You’ll be happy to hear that in this week and next week’s posts, we’ll focus on a choice that is hopefully a bit easier and more replenishing to consider: Healthy people choose to refuel emotionally.
In the same way it’s detrimental to drive a car at full throttle all the time, so it is for human beings to operate their lives in a similar manner.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus invites us to “rest” twice in the above passage. Our goal in today’s post and next week’s post is to help you learn how to incorporate His invitation into our personal lives. When it comes to emotional fuel, we must come to terms with the following:
We can’t give what we don’t have
For example, if you have no money in your wallet or bank account, it’s almost impossible to be financially generous. If you have little-to-no-fuel in your emotional tank, it’s nearly impossible to be generous emotionally . . . I.e., having compassion for others.
We are emotional beings
We are three part beings—body, spirit, and soul (our mind, will, emotions). If you neglect your physical body, you will eventually feel the negative ramifications of this. Such is the case with our emotions. Refueling emotionally requires us to tend to the soul part of our being with great diligence.
We must pay attention to a few indicators on our “emotional dashboard”
Let’s camp here for a while. There are key indicators regarding the level of emotional fuel in your tank. We’re going to talk about the first one this week:
- Your pace. Take a look at your calendar. Are there any empty days? Are there empty timeslots anywhere? If not, this is a sign that your pace is out of control. Is your workday 10-12 hours long on average? Multiple studies reveal that once you reach eight hours of work in any given day, your best production likely is behind you. Here is a list of tips that can help you get started with setting a healthier work pace. Don’t try all of these at once, start with one or two, and build on those. Managing your pace is a journey:
- Without swinging the pendulum to the opposite side and settling into laziness, it is crucial to our emotional wellbeing to learn to live out of rest. Author and pastor Wayne Cordeiro states, “When we rest, God continues His work.” This statement is revealing. How often do we forget that God called us to this work and therefore He leads the charge. Time and time again in Scripture, we discover the concept of sabbath and finding rest in God. When live in this rhythm of rest and work, we find that not only are we more productive in the right ways, but we are also more emotionally healthy.
- Another way to manage your pace is to take a day off weekly. Taking a real day off—a Sabbath—recalibrates our perspective, productivity, and priorities.
- In addition, learning to develop the habit of weekly solitude helps us with our pace. This one makes my introverted heart very happy. Maybe even piggyback this on your day off. Take some quiet time each week to reflect, journal, or mediate on the goodness of God. This solitude recalibrates your soul.
- Furthermore, if we commit to rest even during busy seasons, we will find that our pace becomes more manageable. This one is difficult. Busy seasons don’t negate God’s command to Sabbath regularly. But it’s probably even more crucial to rest during these seasons.
- Also, avoid the faulty logic that says after a full day of work putting in a few more hours will get you ahead. Learning when to stop daily is vital.
- Watching the pace indicator is also easier when we prioritize. Write down your top priorities and focus solely on those for a specific period of time.
- Discover how to match your output with your input. Paying attention to pace often means figuring out which activities drain you and which ones replenish you.
- Also consider that when we overwork on a regular basis, it becomes increasingly harder to recover emotionally. The key is understanding the law of diminishing returns.
- And finally, learning to monitor pace means pivoting from work to your personal life. This takes concerted effort since that line is blurrier than ever.
Next week we will talk about two more components that contribute to refueling emotionally. Hope today’s post gets you started in the right direction!
We’re rooting and praying for you!
John & Jaime