On the CD, I heard the instructor’s statement. Then I hit the back button to hear it again, and again.
“You can eat right, rest well, exercise, build your inner self up to feeling very strong and 15 minutes later feel totally drained.”
“Yow!” I thought. “That’s happened to me…and I didn’t understand it.” I, for one, sure need solutions to not feel so weary, depleted and exhausted at times. Anybody with me?
I listened to this instructor and other CD’s, added further research and the answer became increasingly clear. The key really was the last word of the instructor’s statement: drained.
Stop the drains
The importance of stopping drains is easy to understand when related to a bathtub experience. We can fill a bathtub full of soothing, steaming, relaxing hot water, add refreshing bath oils and lose it very quickly if the drain is unplugged.
In the same way we can lose our strength, resolve and contentment if there are drains to siphon them away.
A few life drains are easy to understand, but others require a little extra consideration. Overlooking any one of them is hazardous to our inner strength and contentment.
First, it’s easy to understand how a heated argument drains our inner strength. Yielding to the pressure of ‘ya-ya-ya-ing’ with someone is self-defeating and leaves us feeling exhausted, unappreciated and disrespected. What a drain that is!
Scripture tells us, “The beginning of contention is as when one lets out water; before he suffers reproach he forsakes judgment” (Proverbs 17:14, DRA). Plug this drain firmly by refusing to “forsake good judgment.”
Fearfulness and letting our heart yield to feeling troubled will drain us. Meditating negatively about our challenges will siphon inner strength away as well. The fruit of such thought is hopelessness. We can plug that drain by choosing to remember and focus on past successes, read the precious comments from family and friends on saved birthday cards, or renewing our mind with Psalm 23 or a favorite scripture promise.
Loss of purpose
Then there may come days filled with too much busyness but lost purpose and meaning. This drain causes one to wake up in the morning with a deep sigh saying, “Why? Why am I doing all this?”
There are a few things that plug the drain of lost meaning. First, we may be over committed. It helps immensely to reevaluate our list of duties and cut back a little. Just say no!
Second, we can give our self a mental-thinking-bath about how much we deeply love our family and friends. Soak a bit in love. Love is so powerful. Love never fails. Love is God.
Loss of control
And then there’s the notion of feeling in control.
We typically make our plans, make a list of 10 important things to accomplish, and then something happens beyond our control. What a mess. Something always happens! Will we let it drain us, or will we grow in it?
The Apostle Paul himself was faced with an issue beyond his control, prayed to God three times for deliverance, and God essentially said no. What? No!? Now, that was totally out of Paul’s ability to control!
God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.” God didn’t abandon him but he wasn’t going to do it for him. He just revealed to Paul that this problem was really identifying a place of Paul’s weakness, where he needed God’s strength.
Immediately Paul changed his attitude, and became thankful in the midst of his problems and troubles. In fact, he used words like “most gladly” and “boast in my infirmities” and “take pleasure” in the distresses. He said he changed his outlook so that “The Power of Christ may rest on m (2 Corinthians 12). We can do that too!
The ability to view “out of control” problems as unusual opportunities for added strength and success makes that person undefeatable. Did you hear that? ‘Undefeatable!’ Being deprived of having any battles means being deprived of having any victories.
So, I say to myself, “Get back in there!”
And I say to you, “You were uniquely made to bring peace and healing in the midst of chaos. You are needed! Find the strength God has for you (available every time) and you will bring blessing where there was none.
St Francis of Assisi prayed…”Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness. Joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
One more thing: The place of deepest contentment and strength is found in the knowledge of unavoidable reaping from sowing described by that prayer. That’s why The Apostle Paul considered his afflictions as the perfect opportunities to receive and give hope where it was needed most.
Now that’s plugging up the drains.
How about you?
Steve Davis, Ed.S. is an adjunct professor at Trinity International University who writes about personal development and education. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.