Have you heard about the new IPhone that's out? The one that can take pictures in the dark so that when you're at concerts you can take photos and have more than just blurry shapes. But what really caught my attention was that this new phone has the ability to gain a 7 hour charge from being plugged in for only 15 minutes. Now that's a deal that I could get on board with! This feature would make me put aside my Android devices and pick up a new phone. 7 hours of batter life from a mere 15 minutes of being plugged in. I like that a lot. My phone is my go to. I entertain my toddler on it when we sit in doctor's offices or when I have to take her with me to lunch meeting with parishioners or colleagues. I use it to track my running or to listen to music while I'm doing dishes. I pass my time between things by scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or looking at Pinterest for new recipes. I research for sermons and pull up scripture passages. I check email and keep my schedule (mostly) organized in my digital calendar.
With all that I am doing on my phone, I usually have an extra battery pack in my work bag or in the diaper bag. I have a charging cable in my car and an extra charger that comes with me everywhere...just in case. And oh man do I get mad when my phone dies when I'm out! There are seriously very few things that frustrate me more than when the screen goes black and it simply stops. Dang phones... But with a phone that would allow me to plug in for 15 minutes and I would have 7 hours of battery life for the rest of my day? I would be unstoppable! Or so I tell myself... probably isn't the case really.
At the beginning of the year, I registered for the clergy retreat with the Eastern District of the Moravian Church. It has become my one time a year that I go and engage fully with my colleagues in ministry and get support and love from people in the denomination. When I found out that the same week as the clergy retreat we also had preschool registration for the little one I had two options: not go at all, or go for a part of the retreat and leave early. I did that latter because I needed that break. From when I left my home to when I left the retreat, it was 24 hours. My battery... well, it was probably at about 46%. From Lent, to Holy Week, to Easter, to having 3 funerals, and 2 workshops all in about 6 weeks... my battery was at 1% when I started the retreat. So 46% felt pretty good.
But I knew I couldn't sustain it. Being 46% charged will only get you so far. I know this. Yet I constantly allow myself to let my battery get drained to the 1% zone where I am just limping along until the next time I can tune out for a while and recharge that physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual battery. So about 2 weeks ago, I said to The Hubs, "how would you feel about me going on a retreat for a few days?" I'm not sure if he was dumbfounded, flabbergasted, or grateful that I had asked to do this. For the 12 years we have been together, he has been trying to get me to relax. It usually doesn't go well. Even when I sit down and rest, I'm thinking and my brain is spinning. I'm always thinking about what I should be doing because there are always things that need to be done! Dishes, laundry, sermon planning, programming, toddler to play with, cooking, exercising...you name it. When I sit down to chill, my brain immediately jumps to what I should be doing instead of being present in what I am doing.
So I did it. I scheduled a retreat for myself to sleep, rest, do some work on a program for camp, and read. I scheduled time for me to plug in to recharge my own battery so that I could continue to put out energy and to keep up with my own busy schedule. 3 days away. That's what I am taking. I'm actually writing this in my comfy room listening to Lauren Daigel and breathing in the calm around me. After dinner today, I picked up a book and read 35 uninterrupted pages without feeling guilty. I then went on a walk into the woods and sat down on a bench and watched a river bubble and saw a little hoppy bird fluttering about. I sat and I breathed in the amazing creation around me. I listened to the sounds around me and smelled that earthy scent of the woods. I smiled and let my brain stop...
For about 2.5 minutes before I felt like "well let's go on to the next thing!"
That's when I grabbed my phone (which had about 17% battery life left) and I set an alarm for 10 minutes. I was going to sit there, in those woods, watching that stream, smelling those smells, for 10 whole minutes. And guess what? I DID IT! I haven't felt that accomplished in something in a long time. For 10 minutes I sat and I just breathed. I felt the wind on my face and heard a nightingale coo. And I thanked God for all the amazing things I have done in my life and what brought me to sitting on that bench, in those woods, sitting and listening and praying... I plugged in. I'll continue to be plugged in so I can continue the work God has placed in front of me... and the work I have also placed in front of myself.
How have you found ways to plug in to recharge so you can continue the work you do? Where do you find your 15 minutes to plug in so that you can keep going for 7 hours? Plug in friends... you're too important to not take care of yourself (Thanks to my Brother in Christ, Glenn, who constantly reminds me that I need to do this for myself... and pray for me as I try to implement the 15 minutes I need every day). Amen Friends. Go plug in!