In the corner of the screen on my iPhone is a tiny indicator telling me what percentage of battery life remains. Last night as I was sitting in my recliner watching the basketball game, I noticed my phone had a meager 1% left. Wow! I must have used up more battery than I realized.
I knew if I didn’t plug it in and recharge it, my phone would shut down on its own. Then it takes all kinds of patience to get it fired up again. No need to go through all that. My daughter happened to be walking by and I was able to coerce her into running to fetch my charger. I hurriedly plugged it in as my phone teetered on the edge of death.
I have found that my inner soul is a lot like my iPhone. There is a battery life that runs for a while but needs to be recharged. Often I am more depleted than I realize. And too often I sit in my lazy boy and wish someone would do something about it.
Most people have no clue what percentage of “soul life” or “spiritual health” they have remaining. For too many years, I refused to believe there was such a thing as depletion, and ignored signals that I was running dangerously low.
Over the years I’m learning to pay more attention to the “read – out” on my soul. I don’t get a meter that tells what percent of my energy is left. But I can tell when I’m becoming depleted. I laugh less. I cry less. I get impatient more easily, and lose a zest for certain things in life.
Do you know how to read your own signals?
Like an iPhone, I may look the same on the outside even when my spiritual battery life is perilously low. And like an iPhone, the key is to recharge regularly.
That’s where REST comes in.
Summer is a good time for us to do some soul work. If you feel like Jesus may be inviting you to find REST and recharge a bit, maybe this outline will help. It helps me.
Let me flesh that out a bit.
First, RELAX and refresh the spirit.
My iPhone needs to get plugged into the wall.
What needs to happen in order for you to be recharged?
Our culture has damaged our understanding of relaxation as a virtue. Relaxing is nearly equated with laziness. Tim Hansel wrote a book years ago called When I Relax I Feel Guilty. He reminded us that God designed us as His mini-me’s, created in his own image. Part of what that means is that we are meant to work and create, but not all the time. We are also to REST.
What makes us think we should rest less than God?
Somehow, some way, there needs to be a break from work, an interruption to the rhythm of effort, and a change to recharge the soul. This happens in part through rest. Like a well that is constantly drawn on by constant pumping above ground, our souls can run dry. It is only when we let go of the handle that the inner reservoirs will be replenished.
When will you let go of the pump handle you’re cranking on each day, ceasing the vigorous pumping, so that God can allow the springs of life well up within you again?
As a pastor, I have to “close the oven door” sometimes. If it’s always open, things never heat up enough to bake anything. I can’t preach and teach and lead and cast vision well if I’m always “on,” always producing, always with the oven door open providing bread for others. I need to close ‘er down, quit producing, and rest. When I rest like that for a time, the inner temperatures increase and God is able to use me to bake something worthwhile.
How will you close your oven door this summer?
Someone might say, “I just need to read more scripture and God will get me back on track.” Well, yes, we’ll get to that. But before you get all spiritual on me, don’t overlook the obvious. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your soul is take care of your body.
I’m convinced most of us need to get more and better rest, and eat less and better food.
When Elijah the prophet was at 1% on his spiritual and life-outlook meter, God’s counsel to him was to take a long nap and eat something. (1 Kings 19) No use trying to get all spiritual until we are rested up and nourished physically.
Here is some encouragement as you think about how to recharge your life this summer.
Be intentional about vacation. Don’t just blow through it with a frenzy of activity. Plan ahead to be sure there times of rest, quiet, solitude, sleep, eating, and calm.
Those who are activistic in work are often activistic on vacation. I’m like that. I find exercise, parties, play and family activities very refreshing and life-giving. But if I’m not careful, my vacation schedule is just as frenetic as my work. The Sabbath principle is an invitation to “knock it off” and march to a different drummer. Do it.
So here’s the question: What is something you will do in June, July, or August that will take advantage of the summer time opportunities, that will allow you to truly relax and refresh your spirit?
When will you do it?
Tell someone about it! Write it down. It will help you get the phone plugged in before it shuts down completely.