Quick question: How’s your energy level lately?
It’s rare to ask someone how they’re doing nowadays without getting the standard: “Busy!” The world seems to be spinning faster and faster and urging us to do the same. We run from one project to another, one event to another, one person to another, with barely time to listen and process what just happened. We seem intent on using up every ounce of our energy, every day.
This conversation has come up with my husband, Matt, numerous times over the years. Usually in a moment of exhaustion, when we know things must change. And so we pray, reevaluate, and make a plan. Priorities are set, activities and goals trimmed, and focus regained. It’s not always easy, especially for Matt, who is very driven and enjoys a lot of interests. But through this process we’ve learned something important:
No matter what my mouth says, where I put my energy shows what I really value.
Where I put my energy shows what I really value. #emptynest #empowerednester Click To Tweet
Take your health, for example. You can say that diet and exercise are a priority, but if you always push them to the back burner when time runs short, they’re not really as important as you think they are.
Or how about all that energy spent worrying about how to solve a problem or how a situation is going to work out? I would never say that worry is a priority, and yet if precious time is spent worrying instead of actually doing something to move forward, then my choice speaks for itself.
Many say God is their top priority, and yet He receives the least amount of time, thought, and energy each day. Quantity really does matter as much as quality. As many parents have discovered too late, kids don’t need one massive vacation a year to grasp their value. They need the day-in and day-out moments to know they are loved and secure. Likewise, we need consistent, moment-by-moment interaction with our Creator to experience the relationship He created us for.
Quantity really does matter as much as quality. #emptynest Click To Tweet
A short exercise to measure your energy level.
This can be sobering. But it can also be the bridge to needed change.
- Make a list of your goals — for the next month, year, 10 years.
- Make another list of your top six priorities.
- Now map out a typical day. Start with the time you wake up and list what you do and how much time each item takes. Make a schedule for weekdays, as well as one for the weekend, and be as specific as possible.
Now, looking back over your schedule:
- What do you give your time, attention, and energy to?
- Do your daily choices line up with your priorities and goals?
- If not, what does your schedule reveal as your top three priorities?
One thing to note: If you’re working full-time, your largest chunk of time is obviously going to be spent on the job. However, this is more about where you put your energy. Although I spend a greater chunk of my time working than with Matt, he is always in my mind when making plans or decisions. Whatever I do during the day, I consider if I can also serve him some way while doing this particular task. And when his schedules allows, I bend mine to sneak away and enjoy extra time together.
I purposefully spend a large part of my mental, spiritual, and physical energy pouring into my marriage because I want it to thrive in the coming years. I want laughter and special memories and common goals. And I’ve learned this doesn’t happen by accident.
Going back to the energy level exercise above…
After listing your goals and priorities and looking at your schedule:
- Are you living the life you thought you were?
- Are you building the life you want?
These are important questions. Don’t skip over them too quickly. It’s not easy to admit when life is out of balance. When loved ones aren’t receiving the attention we thought we were giving. When our life if more self-centered than God-centered.
But change is only a choice away.
Keep a list of your goals and priorities in front of you. Tape it to the dash of your car or on your mirror. Put it by your bed or in your wallet. Then consciously, intentionally pour energy into those areas. Physical, spiritual, mental energy. Keep a simple journal of both successes and ideas of how to pull it back on course when needed.
Remember: Whatever you put your energy toward will determine where you’re going to end up.
Whatever you put your energy toward will determine where you're going to end up. #emptynest Click To Tweet
Before you go… take a second to share any discoveries you’ve made and your list of priorities and goals below. The agreement and prayers of others may be just what’s needed to get you over the hump.