Although I’m very excited about publishing my book, Emotional Freedom, I admit that I’m tired. I need to slow down. But how can I do that? October is already half over and the busiest season of the year is just beginning. It’s the time when I usually gear up for end-of- the-year celebrations. And how do I end up? Too often, physically drained, emotionally depleted, and spiritually flat. Not this year! I’m determined to make wiser choices, so that I don’t lose the emotional freedom I’ve gained and fall back into old pathways of anger, resentment, and revenge.
My goal is to reverse this unhealthy trend, accomplish important tasks for the year and celebrate New Year’s Day 2016 with emotional, physical, and spiritual reserve—a heart filled with love, a body filled with energy, and a spirit filled with joy. If that’s something you desire, I invite you to join me in this challenge.
If we are going to end the year with both accomplishments and reserves, then we will have to make some hard choices. The first one is to face the reality that doing everything we would like to do leaves us not only financially bankrupt but also physically, emotionally and spiritually overdrawn. Therefore, some desires we must forgo, and some invitations we must graciously decline. For us conscientious and caring people, the word “Yes” is much easier to pronounce than the word “No.”
What do we say “no” to and what do we say “yes” to? In her book, The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeusrt gives some excellent advice for determining the answer. When facing a decision to take on another activity, she both asks God for guidance and examines her reserves to find out if she has the emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual resources to handle the demands of this activity.[i] (I call that an example of “Choosing grace.”)
We must take the time to honestly and prayerfully asses our present condition. The people living close to us can usually help us identify signs of overload stress such as irritability, impatience, anxiety, and unkept commitments. (For the past month, my husband has been noticing my signs of stress.) If our feelings, behavior, and family all tell us that we are nearing bankruptcy, then we must say “yes” to more of the activities that renew us and “no” to more of the activities that deplete us.
If you would like to follow along in this challenge, here is an action plan for this week:
- List activities that deplete your energy/resources. This is your red-light STOP list.
- List activities that renew your energy/resources. This is your green-light GO list.
- Look at your weekly calendar; mark the activities that are on your STOP list with red and reduce or eliminate as many of them as possible (take them off your calendar).
- Look again at your weekly calendar; mark the activities that are on your GO list with green, keep them on your calendar, and add more of these activities, if you can do so without producing an energy/resource overload.
If you are joining me in this challenge to accomplish important tasks for the year, and celebrate New Year’s Day 2016 with emotional, physical, and spiritual reserve, I hope that you will comment on my action plan and share yours.
If you feel overloaded already and need help in overcoming resentment, copies of Emotional Freedom are available. To order one, go here.
[i] Lysa Terkeurst, The Best Yes (Nashville: Nelson, 2014) 53.