“A burned up brain won’t start.” Pardon? Yep! That’s what Alice told Bob, “A burned up brain won’t start.” You see, Bob is the night-time janitor in a large company that cleans the CEO’s office. Alice was Bob’s late wife. Bob was telling Roger, the CEO of the company, that Alice use to tell him, “a burned up brain won’t start.” What does that mean?

Battery ChargerThe book I read on the plane ride back from Oregon last week was The Janitor, by Todd Hopkins and Ray Hilbert. It’s a delightful quick read about six directives that Alice passed on to her husband Bob during his career life as a business leader. Now semi-retired, Bob encounters Roger at night in his office, totally stressed, over-worked, exhausted, losing touch with himself and his family. So Bob and the CEO started to meet every Monday night for a few minutes and Bob passed on to Roger the wisdom that Alice had imparted to him before she died. That’s the setting of this enjoyable and helpful book.

Alice’s axiom, “a burned up brain won’t start,” is a simple truth. If you only do things that use up your physical, emotional and spiritual resources, you will be empty and dry. So, the first directive that Bob revealed to Roger was the principle of Recharge vs. Discharge. Are you aware of the things that charge you and the things that discharge you? What energizes you? What de-engergizes you?

Burned Out BrainThink for a moment of all the things you are involved in. Which ones fill you up and which ones drain you? Can you identify the activities in you job or your daily undertakings that recharge your batteries? Can you name the people that inspire you and the ones who discourage you? Maybe just being around people drains you or fills you—depending on your personality. Do you know which recreational activities make you come alive and which ones exhaust you?

Burn OutCall it leisure, call it “me” time, call it creative time, call it a hobby. The truth is, we each need to have something that recharges us regularly. If you keep pouring out energy you will deplete your battery reserves and eventually burn out. A burned up brain won’t start.

And don’t forget, what someone else considers fun might feel like work to you. You have to find what revitalizes you—physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. Certain kinds of devotional activities recharge others spiritually and other kinds recharge me. I meet with a group of local pastors every Monday that energize me in multiple ways. I’ve discovered that photography recharges me. I’ve even found a way to finance my hobby and be a visual inspiration to others through my website.Brain

Life is too short to spend all your time doing things that discharge you. I love the fact that many of the things I get to do in my ministry career recharge me. But, some things do drain me so I’ve learned to divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually to keep my life in balance. How are you doing?

 

QUESTION: What is one thing that recharges you? Please share it in the Comment section below. Thanks!

4 responses to Recharge vs. Discharge

  1. Ron on January 17, 2013 at 10:44 AM Reply

    Andy Stanley calls it your “margin”. If we fill all our time with activities we have no margin to do the important things, like recharge the battery. steven Covey listed it as one of his 7 habits of successful people. I have learned to follow God’s example and take a day off.

  2. Sheralee Tonnessen on January 15, 2013 at 5:43 PM Reply

    Great blog entry…especially the turn of phrase in that last sentence:)

  3. JJ Hart Parker on January 15, 2013 at 11:17 AM Reply

    I am recharged by reading great books (and blogs) like these. “The Janitor” sounds quite similar to one I’m currently reading, “The Travelers Gift” by Andy Andrews.

  4. Dan Koehler on January 15, 2013 at 8:52 AM Reply

    Hi Dennis
    One thing I enjoy doing to recharge is to take pics of nature just like you do.
    Then I enjoy looking at them and sharing them especially with my grand son who wants to know the whole story behind them.
    I am also a pretty good cook and I like to prepare meals from wild game I get .
    It gives me great enjoyment and recharges me to see people enjoy my likes.
    By the way I love looking at your photos.

    Dan Koehler

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