Getting away and recharging is something super important for all of us. Nicky and I spent some time in Atlanta, Georgia at a children’s ministry conference known as The Orange Conference doing just that. While we were there to learn, grow, and bring back fresh ideas, we were also there to recharge.
The concept of recharging means something is put back that was depleted. With batteries, it is putting the energy back into storage cells for the sole purpose of being used and depleted again. That is a fitting picture of what we need as followers of Jesus. We are to be a reservoir containing Fruits of the Spirit that are used up and poured out to others around us. And yes those will become depleted and require recharging to be depleted again.
Recharging happens simply with time spent with God. This likely will not look the same for all of us. For instance, the week spent in Atlanta, I was recharged by listening to others on the stage pour themselves out into me as the shared stories and heartaches from their lives. It’s amazing how those resonate with us and encourage us. We don’t feel alone.
One of those instances was listening to a speaker share where Jesus answered the Pharisees question of the greatest commandment. Jesus replied,
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matthew 22:37–40 CEB
Did you catch that? The second is like it. I don’t believe that Jesus is putting a priority on these so that one happens at the expense of the other. Rather they work together, in tandem.
Everything we do. Everything we say. They all filter through this one simple response which becomes a guide, a litmus test so to speak. Does what we say or do show honor and love to God? Does what we say or do show honor and love to others? If the answer is no…don’t do it! Don’t say it! If the answer is yes…proceed.
I have to admit that I have not always been good at this. I make selfish mistakes and foolishly speak. I have been known to take out frustration on those closest to me. I have also been known to miss the opportunity to honor someone else.
Jesus died for others too…not just me!
That being said, others must be pretty important to Jesus too. And they ought to be pretty important to me as well. I sometimes miss this. And it was this truth that I felt recharge me. It put back something that was depleted and used up.
I can also recharge simply by being quiet and still, with everything turned off and the world tuned out. For families with kids, this is a challenge for sure! It takes a little creativity and sometimes involves telling your spouse that you need an hour or two. If your a single parent it could be finding someone to take care of the kids while you get your hour of quiet time with God. If your a morning person this could happen before anyone ever gets up. If your a night owl, reverse the processes!
Bottom line? We are not meant to be reservoirs only, never being depleted. But we are also not meant to run on empty, but to be recharged.
Remember the days of the old rechargeable batteries? You had to completely deplete the batteries before you could recharge them or they would develop a memory effect, limiting the charge they could hold and thus reduce the time between recharges. Batteries today (such as the ones in our iPhones) actually benefit from frequent charges – even if the battery is only partially depleted.
See where this is heading?
Recharge frequently and don’t wait till your depleted and have run depleted for some time. Damage will occur! Instead, recharge at regular intervals.
At the same conference, it was illustrated that to recharge, we ought to think of things we do daily, weekly, and monthly. The daily thing might be a walk, run, a workout, followed by some quiet time with God. Weekly might be connecting with a small group regularly. Monthly might be something like a day out with your spouse or maybe just a pot of coffee and a good book and no agenda. Whatever it is, you’ll never recharge the way you need to if you are not intentional about it.
So…what are you going to do about recharging? What’s the practical look like for you? Spend 30 minutes with God and your calendar scheduling recharge time. You can’t take care of others if you are not well yourself.