Running on empty might be our new normal, but it isn’t what God intended for us. Our soul craves something different. We know deep down in our souls that there must be something different than just surviving. When you and I are just surviving, we cannot dream. We need to dream. It is critical for all of us. Our souls needs to take a deep drink of hope from time to time. When we can imagine, we are able to create. When we create, we are inspired and, in turn, can inspire others.
David writes in Psalm 119:35-37:
“Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life though your word."
David was asking God to turn his heart in the right places. He wanted to be directed away from those things that were depleting him and towards those things that are life-giving. In this context, God’s Word and commands are highlighted as the place of life. The tension in the passage is this: We regularly pursue those things that deplete us. When we are depleted, our outlook on life is blurred. We get disoriented and lost. Instead of being inspired we are discouraged.
When you and I are inspired, we are able to dream. Think about that thought for a moment. What do you dream about? What keeps you going? Have you ever stopped and studied what are your ideal circumstances for dreaming? You may be thinking “I don’t have time for dreaming!” or “I’m a realist.” Did you know you were designed to create? When you and I create, we are inspired.
Inspiration sometimes comes from our surroundings, a story, key relationships, or even something supernatural. For me, it’s geography and hearing about the stories of others. I’m inspired on the beach. The beauty of my surroundings, the sound of crashing waves, seagulls in the background, that humid breeze and my skin absorbing the sun. It all speaks to me. Recently I was inspired by the mountains. I took a photography trip with a friend and saw a part of Colorado I have never seen before. I was in awe and really taken aback by what I was able to experience. For you it might be something else.
Oftentimes, our current daily and weekly rhythms do not lead our hearts and minds to inspiration. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Instead of being full of energy and ready to tackle the next challenge, we are operating on vapors and have no real creative juices. We are floundering and unhappy. It’s really demotivating to think about. It’s like when you have been saving up money thinking you are about to work towards one of your financial goals, and then a big unexpected expense comes your way. When this happens, it sets me back emotionally. I think things like "why do I even bother saving?" Rationally, my emotions don’t make sense. In the moment, I experience despair and self loathing.
The truth is, it's not our goal or intent to run on empty. In fact, you and I spend great amounts of time, effort, and resources to keep our lives and the lives of our families organized and planned. We want to create opportunities for the ones we love. By embracing the philosophy of efficiency, we carefully craft our lives with school, sports, cookouts, and time with friends and family. However, once something comes into our lives unexpectedly, it sends our schedules and our lives into a tailspin. It doesn’t take much change to put our emotions into overload. Our stress level rises and before we know it we are feeling depleted. Twenty first living is living without much margin. We are truly fragile flowers. 🙂
I want something different for me and I want something different for you. I want to live an inspired life. I want others to dream. In our day and time, this takes extreme intentionality. I’ve found that when I am depleted, it’s essential that I put myself in those life-giving places and around my life-giving people because they are, well, life-giving. Truth and hope anchor our soul. When you and I are in our life-giving surroundings and people, something happens to us. We are refreshed. I want to encourage you to find those life-giving people and places.
If you aren’t sure what is life-giving to you, here is a little exercise to help you discover it. Take a sheet of paper and put a line right down the middle. On the left hand side write out all those places, relationships, things, etc. that are life-giving to you. What do you enjoy doing? Who is it when you are with them, that you feel recharged and inspired? Write out those people, places and things. On the opposite side, write out all the life-sucking things in your life. It may be some toxic relationships, environments, etc. Whatever it is that you feel is depleting you. Identify all those things that come to mind and list them on the opposite side of the page.
Now the real challenge begins. You may need help from a close friend or spouse. Take a look at your calendar or whatever tool you use to manage your life. How many of those life-giving items are a regular occurrence in your daily rhythm? How often are the life-sucking items depleting you. By now, you know what I am going to recommend. It’s time to start eliminating the life-sucking items and start agressively protecting the life-giving ones. You don’t have to eliminate everything at once. Just one thing at a time. Maybe one item per week. Slowly but surely, you will be gaining real momentum.
What I find when I put myself in the life-giving circumstances, people, and places, is my energy and mood transform. I’m able to take a deep breath. My thoughts and emotions begin to get anchored in the life-giving places. My outlook changes. And yes, I slowly become inspired and begin to dream about the future. I experience hope instead of despair. I am motivated instead of apathetic. When rested and energized, I begin to dream. You will, too.
When you and I are just surviving, we cannot dream. When you and I are inspired, we dream. When we are full of life, we are inspired. Take time today to thrive. Identify those items that need to be included in your life and subtract those things that are draining the life out of you. I promise, you won’t regret it.
I believe that our best days are before us…not behind us. We all need a little encouragement, wisdom, and help from time to time. We can’t accomplish our goals in isolation or always on our own. We need each other. Remember, you are not alone. It’s time to thrive. Let’s do it together. Click here to set up a Discovery Coaching call.