Maintaining Emotional Health

by | Sep 9, 2016 | Goals | 0 comments

chow1My neighbor’s dogs got out of their backyard while they were away. The one was easy to entice back. The Chow not so much. No matter how quickly I moved through the neighborhood, he moved faster. Two legs on an older man just did not seem to be a match with a four legged dog. Chain and leash in hand, I pressed on but always a half block behind. Finally, a kind lady stopped with her car. “It really is better if you can get ahead of him, instead of playing catch up.” Climbing in, she dropped me ahead of the Chow. Someone behind and me ahead the dog went into a backyard, down a walkway to a closed gate with nowhere to go. Chain and leash attached, I walked with pride as I returned the dog to the neighbor’s house. Then I took an exhaustion break.

I have known those times, too many times, when I have tried playing catch up and finding myself always behind. No matter how hard I tried I could never seem to get ahead of the goal. More work to be done; more people to see; more writing to do; more places to go and so on. I have known those places of fatigue, not as much physical tiredness but more emotional tiredness. When my emotional tank has gone empty, I cannot simply sleep it off and be refreshed in the morning. Nor can it be ignored as if it will go away. It requires a different kind of care.

I am learning (wish I could say I have arrived) from the life of Jesus that there is a rhythm in life that is absolutely essential for the care needed for emotional health. In the midst of the busyness of His life, He prioritized downtime, time away from the demands and pressures of life. He would go off early, before others awoke, to spend time in prayer and meditation, in the quietness of His thoughts before the clutter and clatter of external noises once more pressed upon Him. He knew that you cannot always be giving out. The tank goes empty very quickly. You must maintain vigilance over your own soul or face an empty well.

Each day I lay out for myself an agenda of things that I want to accomplish that day. But if I live only at that level of busyness, I find myself losing my creative edge, my sense of inner calm and become frayed at the edges of my life. So what do I do? I work best when I arise at about 5:30 am, before anyone else is awake. I then take the next couple of hours to pray and meditate, to catch up on my emails, to enjoy that rich cup of java, and to do some yard work. This is my time with God, myself and nature. This enables me to get ahead of the tasks at hand, enabling me to achieve the goals before me.

What do you do to stay ahead? How do you keep yourself from becoming emotionally tired? Do you feel like your chasing that four-legged Chow and never catching up? Take the time; find the time to be alone with God, yourself and nature. You will be glad you did.



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Please know that I love to speak with my Father and to bring others before Him in prayer. I have this unfailing belief that He both hears and answers the prayers of His children.
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Dave Griggs, MDiv

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