Yesterday was a hard day at work. During our weekly meeting, our team was made aware of some huge changes that will require a great deal of effort from each of us to be successfully and seamlessly implemented. I knew of some of these, but I was blindsided by others. Needless to say, I didn’t handle this news too well. I began to feel stressed and overwhelmed. I grew frustrated and irritated. My plan for the day was derailed by these rather urgent projects. Do you ever have one of those days where you’re so fed up that you just want to do something that will give you a release? Me too. Yesterday, I just wanted to drink. I wanted to drink a lot.
Now, I’m not a big drinker. Alcoholism is something that some of my family members have struggled with so I am very careful and only ever drink in moderation. While I knew I wasn’t going to go off the rails, in that moment a part of me wanted to. This reminded me of this fact: when we face tough times or hard decisions, we have a choice in how we respond. Usually my first instinct is to pick the least healthy option and I’m sure I’m not alone.
I had set up a meeting after work with a friend of a friend who I hope will become a dear friend in the coming months and years. My first thought, after the kind of day I had, was to cancel. I didn’t want to meet with someone new. I didn’t want to dream with someone. I didn’t want to focus on anything other than how I was feeling at the time. But God had a different plan.
The young lady I met with was full of wisdom and purpose and dreams and life. She was so encouraging and challenging, though she probably didn’t even intend to be. I was able to get out of my head, to forget the events of the day, and focus totally on what she was saying. I was able to hear her story and share my own; we were able to connect and be completely in the moment, even though we didn’t meet for very long.
On my way home I was praying and thinking and this thought was dropped in my spirit:
Make space in your schedule for life-giving experiences.
I met with her for an hour over coffee and talked honestly about life and dreams and goals and the Lord was in that conversation. It wasn’t a churchy, forced, agenda-driven moment. It was real, it was honest, and it was just what I needed.
How many life-giving experiences do you have in a week? A month? Seriously, how would you answer that? A few, at most?
I believe we are supposed to care for ourselves each and every day, but we can’t do all of that on our own, sometimes we need a little help from those around us.
By “life-giving” I don’t mean “vacation”. I’m not talking about leaving your normal life; I’m not talking about getting on a plane and flying somewhere else or making a drastic change. While those things can bring life and growth and a refocusing, I think there are simpler, smaller things that we can do regularly that can be just as, if not more, meaningful. It could be a coffee with a friend, which is my personal favorite. It could be date night or a family dinner or going for a walk or a run or trying a new experience or reading an old favorite.
For me, hearing people’s dreams and encouraging them gives me life. Having conversations with others about what gives them life, energizes me and brings me immense joy. Part of me lights up when I hear the dreams and goals and ambitions of others. While this is great, it requires a lot of time. But I’m learning that a one or two or three hour conversation with a dear friend can sustain me through the week. Having those God-appointed moments can help carry me through hard times.
What inspires me might not be what inspires you and that’s okay. Go ahead and find that thing that you love and do it more. Even if it’s just once a month, find that space in your schedule to do something that gives you life.