Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fill er' up!

The human body (including mind and soul) is a machine, operated by biological circuitry, vehicles, computers, coding, etc., therefore it stands to reason we need fuel.  It's a very common analogy that we fuel ourselves with food.  Well taking that analogy a step further, the human machine is slightly bovine in design, having in fact four fuel tanks.

There is the obvious aformentioned 'stomach tank', using food as fuel, and the health of our biological systems depends on the quality and quantity of that fuel. 

Then there is the 'purpose tank', where fuel is the opportunities to fullfill our purpose.  I discovered this one a few months ago in my spiritual gifts course, how success and serving can still feel us leaving empty if we're not using our God given skills and talents they way he designed us for.  Everything we do doesn't have to tie into our purpose, but if we are not utilizing them in some capacity it can be hard to feel like we're accomplishing much.

Then there is the 'love tank', where fuel is the love we receive from people.  This one I discovered years ago in a book called The Five Love Languages.  If you've never read it I highly recommend it as it helps discover the five different expressions of love and which one fills up your love tank the best, and of course then you can better understand other people's 'love fuel' as well. Like a vehicle, the engine is designed to work with a specific fuel, leaded, unleaded, diesel, well so is our love tank.  When we receive love fuel that doesn't meet our specs it can be only partially/temporarily useful or even completely ineffective. Having an empty love tank not only leads to trouble in a relationship but also to deeper emotional issues like anxiety or depression, not to mention you can't give love to others when your own tank is empty.  An empty love tank can also affect other areas of your life that are not love related, you can have a full 'purpose' bank and still feel unfulfilled.

Lastly there is the 'spiritual tank', also known as the God shaped hole in all of us.  Fuel, of course, is a closer relationship with God.  I think Philippians 4:8-9 sums it up:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."  If God is the most important relationship and ultimate purpose in our life then I believe even running on empty in the other 3 tanks can't take away the peace he can give us.
Just as most of us wouldn't even consider letting our bodies run out of food fuel to the point of not being able to run our physical body, don't let yourself run out of the other fuels either.  It may not be as easy to tell we're on empty like a growling stomach but the emptiness will have it's own way of crying out for each tank. Let me tell you, it can get just as painful as a starving stomach.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We interrupt this regularly scheduled programming

I need to give myself a break, figuretively and literally. Ever since I've realized having children is not a likely future for us I have been a little obsessed with re-shaping my life and my purpose, and for some reason I have felt I needed to impliment every idea I ever had to fill the 'empty' life this would leave me with. I've created one list after another of things I feel I need/want to accomplish with this different future, a list of attributes/skills/characteristics I can shape in myself now that I won't have a life focused on raising children.
And I needed to act on it all NOW. Maybe so I wouldn't feel a void, maybe because I never was good at being idle, resting, relaxing.
I, being a natural born planner and scheduler, planned and scheduled all these new goals of mine with next to no wiggle room. I even put just about every goal in my Outlook calendar, reminders and all. I thought I accounted for the freedom to follow a God-led purpose, I realize now that embracing gifts he gave me didn't mean I had to use them all and so frequently. And I totally didn't account for 'life happens'.
And it did.
Life happened. What did I think I would do when work got crazy? How did I not see I had far too many priorities? Why didn't I slow down when people close to me started struggling? Or when I started struggling? My calendar reminders didn't stop appearing when those started. But amidst it all, I've continued to feel obligated to keep up with my schedule, after all, I have this person I'm trying to become, it was my choice to make these priorities, these goals. I would guiltally press 'Snooze' on all those reminders with good intentions of getting back to them all later, but they just piled up, overwhelming me even more.
I forgot to schedule time
So that's what I'm doing now. No more lists, no more goals, no more 'how am I doing' type blog entries. This is going to be a little weird for me because this is just part of who I am, my 'regularly scheduled programming' is self-improving, planning, preparing, purpose-driven, etc. I'm finally giving myself a break.
Don't know how long I'll need, but until I stop feeling so overwhelmed and unaccomplished, I'm on hiatus from all things goal-oriented.
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