I would say that we struck a chord with last week’s blog. It was by far one of the most read Notes this year, and I heard from many of you that this is an area that you are struggling with. Take heart that you are not alone. There are people in your facilities and offices that are facing similar challenges in balancing work, relationships and rest. There is also a hunger to live life differently - to be fully alive. One area that is going to take some work in order to get there is rest & learning how to recharge the batteries.
Just a reminder that most of this Note is coming from a book I recently picked up called, “5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There is Never Enough Time” by Jeremie Kubicek. I highly recommend buying.
Here were a few of the many responses from last week’s blog:
“Yeah, that hit home. I can’t sit still either.”
“Wow, Nick, that blog kicked my butt.”
“I feel like I’m on the verge of burnout, but I don’t know how to recharge.”
“I’m exhausted, but I think I can work through it.”
That last one was my favorite. I hope that person reads this week's blog too. And if it helps, this is kicking my rear too. I feel like God has been trying to get my attention in this area for a few years, and like the last response, I have responded by just trying to work harder. That mentality is insane.
It’s interesting to me that we take something as concrete as the need for rest, and make it negotiable. I mentioned how foundational rest is in Scripture. God himself rests on the 7th day. Jesus is constantly peeling off by himself to spend time in solitude.
Jesus saw the same struggle we are engaged in now as He looked at his disciples and those who were listening to His teaching. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." — Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Jesus is speaking to the very core of our hearts here. We long for rest. We know that the way we are living life is not sustainable. But in order to find true rest, we are called to come to Jesus. To lay down the burdens, workload, stress, etc. - and ask Him what He desires for us to do.
This often involves learning to say “No” to things, which can be terribly hard. I had a conversation last week with someone who is planning on a “Say ‘No” December”. It’s a time of year where we can get overcommitted and eventually run ragged. She planned to say “No” to some things, in order to say, “Yes” to the best things so that this season could be focused on growing in Christ, resting and recharging the soul.
So what happens when we don’t intentionally schedule time to downshift to 1st Gear in order to rest and recharge? Well, we often crash, burnout, or sometimes end up in the ditch.
What would life look like without 1st Gear?
Waking up in 4th Gear to emails
Being consumed by the tasks of the day, all day and all night
Going into 5th Gear mode for most of the day, while missing out on most of the interaction with others
Coming home in 4th Gear and remaining there until bedtime.
Missing interactions, relationships, and most importantly, rest
Eventually crashing because of the pace of work and life in 4th gear
Do any of those sound familiar? This raises red flags all over the board for me. Maybe for you too.
How do I know if I grinding gears?
Warning Signs: You know you have an unhealthy 1st gear if…
Escapism from reality is your norm
Too much time is devoted to 1st gear and not connecting with others
You overfocus on exercise and diet
You get lost in a new book or new idea most of the week
Your personal recharge dictates everyone else’s schedule
Your recharge time dominates the family agenda
Using work and studying as an excuse to avoid people
You binge on a TV series or computer gaming as a way to escape
You rely on a very small number of relationships without connecting to the broader world
Recharging differences between Introverts and Extroverts
Rest and recharging doesn’t happen in the same way for everyone. Steve Cochram writes, “Introverts recharge internally, like a battery pack. They need to plug into an energy source directly and recharge on their own from within. Extroverts, on the other hand, are like solar panels: their recharge happens from external power sources, like ideas or people or experiences.”
Battery pack-type recharge sources for introverts:
Sleeping - introverts usually need a bit more sleep than extroverts
Reading - like novels or biographies
Exercise - long runs or walks alone
Devotions - introverts are normally more disciplined with their personal time
Meditation - this normally becomes a place for peace
Time to yourself - pursue hobbies, like art, gardening, cooking, woodworking, and so on.
Solar powered-type recharges for extroverts:
Time with a mentor - extroverts need to talk out loud to hear their ideas with someone they trust.
Ideas - some extroverts are enamored with ideas, which can bring life to them.
2nd gear time - extroverts tend to get recharged with people, especially those they care for a great deal
Enlivened experiences - a concert or movie can be recharging to an extrovert
Sleep - extroverts need sleep as well, usually less than introverts
Speaking - some extroverts thrive when they speak or share
Reading - books that bring inspiration and are highly applicable
Exercise - extroverts tend to like class-type exercise with a group of people rather than the isolated experiences of running by themselves
You may be fully on one side or the other. Some of you will realize that there are some of each list that you can relate to. We are all wired up differently. I’m more in the middle of the two now than I have been in the past. But I encourage you to go through that list and pull out the things that allow you to recharge and put space on the calendar. You won't regret it.
Start small. Pick one that you will do today. I encourage you to pray about it. Something as simple as this prayer:
“God, what I know to be true is that You desire that I would rest in You. What you know about me, is that I can’t sit still. Would you lead me in the areas of my life where I could find rest and be able to recharge? Would you give me grace when I try and fail? Help me to rely on You in those moments when I put work and relationships down and spend a moment or two to recharge. I ask that You would bless my rest, and that it would bring glory to You.”
Take time to rest this week. I think you'll find that your work and your relationships will improve as a result.