Think back over the past week in your life. Would you use the word “blah” or the word “zing” to describe it? If you experienced frequent times of restlessness, depression, being physically listless and mentally or emotionally discouraged then you likely chose blah to describe the recent state of your life. However, if you recall enjoyable moments, a lively state of mind and meaningful worth then I bet you picked zing. Perhaps, you’re like most people still trying to decide because life is a combination of both.
I encounter people at each extreme. For example, have you ever met one of those Christians who looks beautiful, isn’t stressed, apparently has it all together, is comfortably wealthy and exudes a temperament that is the perfect blend of Red Bull and Billy Graham? I’m happy for them and wish I could be like them. I just don’t think I’ll ever have that consistent level of energy – at least not during this earthly portion of eternity. More often I come in contact with people that are at the very least self-defeating. I’m amazed at how they are committed to anger, seek their next illness, over-pack their days, pursue conflict and refuse to enjoy life.
One of the most important components to good physical and spiritual fitness is energy. It is the force that moves us. There are a couple of facts you should understand about energy:
1. There are both good and bad sources of energy. On the physical side highly processed sugars, fats and foods are a bad source of energy while complex carbohydrates, raw sources of vitamins and natural proteins are good. On the spiritual side lust, anger, jealousy and pride are a few of the bad energy sources while peace, joy, patience and kindness are some of the good ones. The source of energy you choose has longer-term implications.
2. Energy has to be used properly for the given task. The powerful flooding release of water from a dam is required to irrigate crops. Yet a single drop at a time is most effective when giving someone an intravenous to re-hydrate them. Similarly, a tremendous amount of electricity is needed to light and power a football stadium, yet a very slight amount of electricity is used to do the powerful functions of the micro-processor chip in your computer. If you don’t use energy properly it can be ineffective or destructive.
So how do you get energy, energy and more energy to fuel your life?
Energy comes in the form of VISION. I love the kind of God who has such an incredible vision for the future that I can’t even begin to understand or even imagine how big, grand, detailed and complete it is. But where I get really energized for daily life is when I realize that each morning I wake I can tap into that vision to fuel my journey and empower others. Open your eyes and look for new directions. Embrace this energy with confidence.
Energy comes in the form of FREEDOM. Free your schedule from the busyness that drains you. Sure it is tough. Pursue self-discipline that helps you set limits and not over commit. Many people use clocks just the opposite of how they should. They rigidly limit their personal and spiritual time to short periods of time. Then they pay no attention to the clock when they work overtime or get caught in distractions.
Free yourself to be who you are. Free yourself to have fun and enjoy life. Be free to do things different. Explore the freedom that the Christian faith gives you. That freedom is the exercise of your will. The concept of freedom suggests that there is a release from bondage. Identify what binds you, then pursue grace, wisdom and change to be energized by freedom.
Energy comes in the form of REST. I think our human nature is wired to resist rest. If we’re not constantly going and doing something then we feel that we’re not making life happen. In fact, it is in rest that life truly does happen. Just as muscles recover and grow during rest, spiritually you are renewed with energy when resting. To rest your spirit, quit trusting in yourself and your abilities and look to God for direction and strength.
Thankfully I don’t get ill very often. However, a recent bout with the flu really slowed me. I couldn’t help but sleep. The more I woke with anxiety that I should be going and doing a list of tasks the more I realized I just needed to rest. Allow yourself to rest and refocus. Being a maxed-out mess only depletes your energy.
Freedom, vision and rest --- energy, energy, energy.
Train strong in Christ,
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This article originally appeared in the April/May 2008 issue of Faith & Fitness Magazine.