Daily Archives: February 17, 2011

Where Are Your Gauges?

A game of hide and seek was planned. 

Participants:  3 teenagers, 1 almost teen
                             All siblings.

Location:  IKEA. 

These hide and seek games in that huge of a space can take over an hour.  The plans were made.  The walkie talkies charged.  The seekers and hiders assigned.  It is one of the sibling’ favorite activities – usually.

But today, everyone was a little off.  Someone only wanted to be the seeker, and to have that role by themselves.  Someone else only wanted to hide.  Another one didn’t want to hide, but only wanted to seek with someone else.  And someone else wasn’t excited about any role within the game at all.

Agreements were made and then gone back on.  Feelings were hurt because hopes were disappointed.  The whole thing was about to be derailed.

It was at this point that emotions and frustrations were at their highest that I stepped in.  I really didn’t care if the whole activity was scrapped – there was plenty to do at home – but I looked into the depth of disappointment in one of my kid’s eyes, sensed the betrayal in his heart, and knew that I had to intervene.

I’ve spoken before of moments where I can visually see chaos swirling around me, the pressure pushing in, and the oxygen with which I have to inhale depleting.  Moments where I feel quite ill-equipped to handle the split-second decisions that are hurled at me, and the tremendous noise of emotion and conflict that careen onto my path are overwhelming.  This was one of those moments. 

Some days it seems like all that I experience are those kinds of moments.  There are definitely days where laughter, comradery, and playfulness dominate, but if I rely on the possibility of those moments occuring to find fulfillment in my day, I will emerge on the other end of a week completely depleted.   

That place of finding a consistent level of fulfillment was discovered by finding balance in some key areas.  I was able to put words to what I was experimenting with by using the images of the gauges in an automobile.  Each gauge tells the level of a different function in your vehicle.  One is the speed, the other the gas level, the other oil, tire pressure, etc. 

In your life you have different gauges, and these gauges measure different facets of your health.  If one of these is out of commission, your whole system doesn’t run as smoothly.

These gauges are:  emotional health, physical health, spiritual health and relational health.  

Emotional:  It is vital that your mental/emotional health is being monitored.  Different activities can quickly drain (or refill) your emotional tank, and being aware of where you’re at is extremely important.  For each of us these activities are going to be different – but we must study ourselves enough to know when we are functioning on a consistently empty emotional tank.  We also need to be aware of what activities/people are replenishing to us so that we can immerse ourselves in them when we need to refill. 

Physical:  Are you current on your doctor/dentist appointments?  Is there an ache/pain/issue that is weighing on you and needs to be discussed?  These issues can greatly effect your overall health and plague your well-being. 
I have two friends with different auto-immune diseases.  I have learned amazing insights from watching them read their bodies, know what social/physical events are on their calendars, and react accordingly.  They know when sleep is essential, and when they simply need to say “no” to even the seemingly great events.  We need to learn how to read our body’s signals to keep ourselves in balance.

Spiritual:  Discipleship, journaling, meditating, fasting, reading, accountability, sacrifice, and having a life-giving community surrounding you all fan the fire of your spiritual health.  It is imperative that you interact with God on a regular basis to keep your spiritual life active and intimate.

Relational:  If the most important relationships in your life aren’t solid, everything can waiver.  Spending the energy and time necessary to nurture the ones you love and the ones to whom you are committed is essential.  If you’d like some suggestions, read my series on Romance.  🙂

As I stepped into the mix of my discontented, hurt, disappointed, and angry kidlets, I recognized serious depletion potential.  There are some times that exhausting events are unavoidable, and maybe even beneficial.  However, we all have to then schedule the activities that will replenish our systems so that we am at our best for those we love, and for ourselves.


Filed under Family and faith, Parenting