This blog has drug out and around every turn the message comes up again! It all started before our vacation to Florida. I was assembling all of the electronic devices. (No judgment). The one is my Kindle that I take mostly on trips because it has many books I want to read. I opened it and found a message that read “EMPTY BATTERY. Connect your Kindle to a power source and charge it until this screen disappears….. “
I am here to tell you, my Kindle is not the only thing in my life with an EMPTY BATTERY. I am pretty sure if I had a electronic scrolling sign that was on my forehead, it would say EMPTY BATTERY – Connect to power source! Sometimes I charge myself “just enough” to eliminate the warning. I might get a cat nap, or even a whole 4 hours sleep at night, eat a meal that is sort of healthy (potato chips are made from a vegetable), exercise a little (carrying groceries in or laundry up a flight of stairs), or maybe read a page or two before falling asleep. I know the warning signs without the message scrolling across my forehead telling me to plug in to power source. I get a little more (a lot) more snippy, headaches, fall asleep while typing emails (and wake up to a lot of a single letter across the page), a little more (ok a lot more) emotional, the desire to run away but don’t even have the energy to do it, and usually my back informs me as my muscle tense and I sleep in the tub. I even had a recent overnight hospital stay to rule out cardiac issues – talk about an empty battery!
After the message, I couldn’t help thinking about the warning. The great part was I was going on vacation – the one time I usually charge my battery, reconnect with my family, limit electronic devices, squeeze chapters of books, and not have to cook or clean.
But my vacation start did not come without glitches… which probably were smaller than I made them out to be, but remember I was empty…
- I had to ask for HELP! That is so outside of my comfort zone. I would prefer to deplete my own battery before asking. However, my friend agreed to take care of crazy dog, and I didn’t even die asking for help. (NOTE to self – when battery is running low it is wise to ask for help)!
- I ordered a new paperwhite Kindle for the trip (my Kindle with low battery was having more issues and books are essential to me). It came in time for the trip, but wouldn’t connect to download my books, so I came up with a plan B to download them and reset it. (NOTE to self – when battery is running low, retail therapy can help (lol) and/or push the RESET button on button – go back to the basics).
- We were supposed to leave at 1am, but were greeted with SNOW and slush and a mess. I had to speed up my plan and skip some things I do before I leave (clean out fridge, run dishwasher, vacuum, etc…). I usually roll with the punches and tried my best, but I felt rushed and fearful I was forgetting something (despite my packing list). (NOTE to self – when battery is low, eliminate the unessentials – did it matter that I wouldn’t come back to a clean house? Focus on the important – we had the essentials for a perfect vacation – the 4 traveling in the car and clothes on our backs!)
- The roads were pretty slick for awhile and we were taking the car! We had snow off/on all the way to South Carolina. My battery was empty…. I hadn’t gotten far enough into the trip to recharge… it was a struggle not to say just turn around! We are blessed with great traveling kids who slept and entertained themselves or I may have thrown up the white flag of surrender. (NOTE to self – when battery is low, sometimes I need to just keep going thru the muck as the recharge lies ahead. The drain was temporary and vacation could recharge me.)
- The trip continued to put my judgment at question… my battery was still empty from only napping in the car (you know the nap with the bobbing head). We had the WORST McDonald’s experience ever (so I wrote to corporate – I would normally ignore it). They messes with me when my battery was not charged (after traveling all day how hard would it be to get a correct order?). Then we went to a Walmart for Sam approved food (Baby carrots, fruit, pasta, popcorn). OH MY WORD! I am not exaggerating when I said we were afraid. Afraid Jim would get arrested. We couldn’t understand about 90% of the people. People were rude and pushy and scary. We escaped as quickly as possible even though they were out of most things we needed. (NOTE to self- avoid strange places and fast food joints when my battery is empty and not prepared to handle potential rude people and bad customer service).
The next day things changed.
- That night we all got a good nights sleep (NOTE TO SELF – to recharge – sleep is essential).
- The weather was beautiful, warm sun, green grass, flowers, etc. (NOTE TO SELF – soaking in nature is a great way to recharge. When I sit behind a desk all day, I may need to break for a trip outside!)
- We reconnected as a family on the trip. We learned some very valuable lessons on the trip about working together and compromising. (NOTE TO SELF – family connection is imperative for recharging. They are my life line, unfortunately they are also the ones who pay most for my empty battery – I snap, I’m tired, etc.)
- We did several spur of the moment decisions, which is way outside of our typical functioning comfort zone. The last day we went to a water park and I EVEN GOT IN THE WATER! That is a miracle. I am the observer and bag watcher – lol. I usually have a list of other excuses. It was the last day of our family vacation. (NOTE TO SELF – go outside the comfort zone, the result can be amazing!)
We had gotten recharged as a family – no more empty battery warning as a family. We were ready to come home to sameness (there is truly no place like home for us). We had some good conversations in the car on the way home – projects to complete, and even future vacations to keep our battery charged.
I can tell you though it didn’t take long to start losing my recharge on my battery. We ran into rain and more rain and more rain. The green slowly faded on our drive turning to brown and greys. We got home late eve and I had to work the next morning at 6am. When we return home, there are no groceries (milk, bread, eggs) and I had to go grocery shopping after work. I also needed to pick up Easter Basket items. On Sunday, I missed church for the first time in years on my favorite Holiday. I missed being with my church family. Then I had a rough Easter morning over a broken heart of a child (another blog). I read facebook and looked at beautiful Easter pictures by others (honestly jealous!)….. and my battery was draining fast!!! I worked a four day stretch. We returned back to school. Therapy resumes…. and my once full battery is draining quick.
I am pretty sure I am not alone when I read Facebook posts.
- I notice when I get in that empty battery, my gratitude lists disappear because I stop looking at life through gratefulness. I look at it through exhaustion and it just gets more empty, and the vicious cycle continues. NOTE TO SELF – to charge battery must look at positive!
- When my battery is empty, I don’t take care of anyone well, not even those I love the most! NOTE TO SELF – to charge my battery, I have to learn true self-care. The self-care where I put my own oxygen mask on first, so I can truly be there for others!
- When my battery is empty I disconnect from my friends. I think of them, but never reach out to them. My text are short and days between. I see sadness on Facebook and I like to try to send a note, but that seems to take too much energy or I forget. NOTE TO SELF – to charge battery connect to friendship power sources!
- I really know my battery is empty when I forget to even look at my calendar. I forget big and little details, or overschedule because I don’t have the big picture in front of me. NOTE TO SELF – to recharge, reconnect to priorities, keep list simple, and don’t add more!
- Why do I feel I am so exempt from recharging, when Jesus even took the time from His busy schedule of saving people to recharge – He withdrew from the crowds and the business. NOTE TO SELF – make time to retreat and talk to the ONE who matters most!
- When my battery is empty I forget the things that feed my soul. I always watch Elevation Network church on weekends. I try to choose spiritual things to fill the background, but I failed to even play these. So I started listening to them. One sermon even mentioned how we worry about our low battery on our phone, but not the low battery on our soul! OUCH!!! That is so me… NOTE TO SELF – care about my low battery on my soul as much as I do my iPhone!
The key I am learning is to NOT WAIT for the warnings. It requires daily recharging. For me, it is holding onto the reminder in Lamentations 3:23 (one of my favorites). “His mercies are new every morning”. I have to remember to pause and collect them for daily deposit!! I need to connect to my main power source – CHRIST – everyday!