Are you Filled or Drained?

Let’s think of ourselves as a cup.  Throughout the day we pour out in different ways. 
Every one of us has at one time or another felt drained, or just tired.  We have things in our lives that fill us, and things that we do that involve pouring out.  Unless we think through what these things are, it is unlikely that we will accidentally achieve the perfect balance.
Let’s say we start the week with a full cup, but throughout the day we go through more things that drain us rather than fill us up.  As a result, we will end that day with a tiny, but very real, deficit.
As we begin the next day, we not only need our ‘usual’ portion of fills, we need extra if we are to fight the deficit.  The problems come as the days pile up and we gradually find ourselves feeling more and more emptied.
What are the indicators that we are drained?
The first sign that we are drained is when we feel stressed or anxious.  Maybe we snap at a co-worker.  Maybe we find ourselves a little more irritated in traffic.  Despite what our culture might communicate, stress is not a healthy place to live.  It should not be our normal operating level.  When we find ourselves stressed or anxious, we need to intentionally pursue those things that fill our cup.
Emotional Breakdown
If we continue getting drained, we’ll start to get into a place of emotional breakdown.  This is easy to recognize: we feel emotionally overwhelmed. When we find ourselves in this place we either take a break – take serious time to get filled and not be drained, or we keep going.  At this level, we don’t just need a night off; we need to replace fills with drains.  Otherwise we will find ourselves in the place of nervous breakdown…
Moral Failure
Once we get to the point where we are this drained, we cling to any fill we can see, which generally is unhealthy.  Essentially, we are so empty, we only care about feeling filled as quickly as possible, a quick fix. Identifying our fills and drains is going to be critical.
What are the indicators that we are filled?
A fill is not just something that doesn’t drain us.  Sometimes, when we find ourselves stressed or drained we turn to something that seems ‘relaxing’ because it doesn’t drain us, like TV.  However, just because TV may not be a drain for us, it doesn’t by default become a fill.  There are many things that are neutral that we have a tendency to turn to when we’re drained, but that don’t help refill our cup and when we finish partaking we still have the same deficit in our cup that we began with.
Keep in mind that a fill may not be our favorite things just as our drains may not all be things we hate.
For example, exercising may be a fill.  Even though some of us may dislike this, it may give our body energy for the ministry and work ahead.  Knowing that in advance will help.  When we are feeling drained, exercise may sound like a chore or something we don’t want, however if we know ahead of time that it’s a fill, we can engage and afterwards find ourselves surprisingly energized.
To the same token, we may find ourselves drained by something we love and are called to do.  After a long day playing with children, even if we love children, we may go home and feel exhausted.  We must be careful to not just think of drains as things we hate and fills as things we love.
We must be intentional.
What fills you? What drains you?
Written By: Chris Allman
Edited By: Shawn Martinez

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