Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Keeping your tank full

Sorry I have been MIA recently. I have been investing all my time into a couple of lovely events I helped plan. First there was a Ladies Retreat the first weekend of May, and this past weekend I had the privilege of co-hosting a Bridal Shower for my oldest bestest friend Mandi. Both events took a ton of work, and both were 110% worth it- something I can say now that I am on the other side of the hair frazzling, budget crunching, registration taking, up all night baking, crafting til my fingers hurt marathon.

I was reflecting about how I managed to get through those frazzled moments. It's all about balance and keeping your tank full - a concept that I have borrowed from a well known speaker, and have adopted into my daily life. Forgive me if I have talked about this before, but even if I have, it's worth going into a bit more detail.

 So the idea is quite simple. There are things in your life that fill your tank, and things that drain your tank. These will be different for everyone. The things that empty your tank are not necessarily bad things - they are just things that take energy, and often a good portion of your time. The speaker that I learned this from was a pastor, and he listed a number of things that have to do with being in Christian ministry. Counseling people, for one. This is not only a part of his job, but something he enjoys.  Nonetheless, it is draining. For me I might equate this to crafting or baking in preparation for something. I enjoy baking, but it can be draining when you spend hours doing it.

Things that fill your tank are things that make you happy and feel more alive. Things that once you are finished you feel joy. It could be a bike ride, a walk, going to the gun range (no judgement here!) or maybe going for a swim. For me this almost always looks like coffee or dinner with a friend. I have a couple very close girlfriends that if I don't see them enough I start itching for that next dinner date- spending time with them quite simply put, fills my tank. I always leave feeling satisfied with our time together.

The trick here is that when your tank starts to drain, and you are feeling the pressures of *insert personal stress/worry/overwhelmed feelings here* the last thing you feel like doing is taking up your precious time to go see a friend. You make the excuse of not having enough time, or feeling like you just need a night home to yourself (And for some of you this might be what fills your tank!) I have come to realize that this is a lie that I fall into - my life is so full of the stuff that I need to do, that I don't have time for the things I want to do.

So sometimes I have to force myself out. Sometimes I actually whine to Chris about how I don't have time, and maybe I should cancel (Which, if you know me, you know that last minute cancellations are one of my biggest pet peeves!) Every single time I am happy I went. Not only for myself either - my marriage benefits from this too. If I were to be looking to my Chris to be my primary tank filler, that would not only be a huge weight and responsibility on him, but I would likely be disappointed when he wasn't able to make the mark each time. This way I come home happy, full, less stressed, and instead of looking to him to fulfill a great need, I am ready to just be there with him. 

What is it that fills your tank?


  1. Wow! What a great message Melissa! I think as women this is especially hard for us because we are always so willing to put others first before ourselves, which in turn quite often leads us to neglecting our own needs and causing our tanks to be empty. I find this especially hard due to the fact of being a mom. We just get used to running on no sleep, eating cold meals, etc. So this message has really caused me to stop and reflect on those things that do fill me up. One of the biggest things is just going for walks. I love finding a place to sit, park the stroller, and just watch the river flow by. That or even just going to a coffee shop by myself and reading a good book. Yup, definitely something I need to do more of. Thank you Melissa for your post.
    P.S. I agree with you and think that you should write a book. You are very talented at writing. Can't wait to get a signed copy!!

  2. Thanks Davida! I also struggle against the self sacrificing part of me. The hard part is that usually the things that empty my tank are GOOD things. Things that help others, and ultimately the kingdom. You have to think of it as being on an airplane though - number one rule in an emergency is put your own mask on before you put on someone else's - you can't help anyone else if you pass out!!

  3. This is awesome and so true!!!!! :D Have I mentioned I love your blog??? ;)