Encouragement for Today
“Our Energy Quota”
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Mark 6:31, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (NIV)
When my youngest son Robbie was three, he was pushed off the top of a playground toy. He was waiting his turn to go down the fireman’s pole – just not so fast. His little feet slammed into the compacted sand, and Robbie crumpled to the ground in a crying heap.
Every mom knows the cry that means something is really wrong – and that’s what I heard. My little Robbie is tough, and when I heard him wail, I sprinted. My husband and I carried him to a bench, expecting the crying to subside. When it didn’t after 30 minutes of cuddling, we headed for the emergency room, with Robbie still crying.
At some point in the waiting room, Robbie fell asleep in my arms. I carried him back to the exam room, still asleep. They x-rayed his foot while he dozed. My husband and I took turns holding our sleeping boy. He was still asleep when the doctor told us he had a slight fracture in his foot, and would need to wear a special boot for six weeks. Oh, and he shouldn’t run. (Right – like that happened!)
I was surprised Robbie could sleep through such pain, and said so to the doctor. The doctor wasn’t at all surprised and gave me a medical explanation for the unexpected response: Robbie had spent all his adrenaline responding to the pain, and was exhausted. His body shut down while his adrenaline was recharging. That’s not the exact medical explanation we received, but it’s what I understood.
This taught me a life lesson about my own body, and the amount of energy I have to use in a given day. God has given us the amazing ability to perform under stress. But at some point, depending on the amount of stress, my body will shut down. To keep pushing myself past that point increases the adrenaline flow, which causes a myriad of other problematic issues, including health problems and mental fatigue. Basically, I’m not at my best when I force myself beyond healthy limits.
There are books and experts ready to teach us time management tips, but what about managing our energy? Anyone who has ever had the flu, newborn babies or dealt with a chronic illness knows the importance of managing energy and the greater importance of recovering from spent energy.
Jesus was the master of knowing when to step out of the demands of the day and rest. In Mark Chapter 6, we read of a time when the disciples were busy responding to the needs of the people. Verse 31 says, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (NIV)
Jesus knew the disciples had a limited amount of energy, and even though it was the middle of the day, they needed to rest. It wasn’t necessarily physical effort that sapped their strength, but likely it was responding to the needs of the people around them. Earlier in the chapter we learn that the disciples had been ministering in the surrounding villages. Verse 12 says, “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Although they might have been weary from walking, the emotional effort of ministry and caring is often as tiring as physical effort.
The principle I can apply to my life from this verse is be aware of my limited amount of energy and to plan recovery time into my day. I often underestimate the physical exhaustion that comes from caring for children, ministering at church or with friends, or the tenseness after a hard day at work. Like Robbie’s response to physical pain, sometimes sadness and emotional pain can wear me out. It’s important to acknowledge that God designed our bodies to respond to emotional as well as physical demands, but then we need to recharge. Like Jesus we need to find ways to “get some rest” so we can be ready for the next challenge.
My Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your incredible design of the human body. Your creativity, power and knowledge are revealed in every detail. Thank You for providing a way to push through demanding situations, and then a way to recover from them. Help me to be more aware of my limits and to choose to stop and rest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Identify the times of the day when you are most tired. Consider if there is a physical reason (e.g. not enough sleep, too much sugar for breakfast). Commit to making one change this week – whether to eat better, sleep more, or incorporate small times of rest.
What saps your energy most during the day?
How can you incorporate some rest and recovery time into each day?
What are some ways that you find refreshment? (Examples: music, nature, Bible reading, prayer)
1 Timothy 4:7, “Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness.” (NLT)
Genesis 2:2,“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (NIV)
Psalm 61:1, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” (NIV)
Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (NIV)
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Women Who Do Too Much, by Patricia Sprinkle
A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Monday, 10 October 2005.