In our house we have two places that we can find batteries. New batteries, still in their packages, are in a box under our computer printer. These are generally all pretty good except for a few cheap ones I got for free. Used batteries, and all our rechargeable batteries, are in the basement on our “recharging table” that I built when all our kids each had a dozen toys that used batteries. The charging table once had three different battery chargers where we could charge everything from triple ‘A’s to ‘D’ cells and 9V rechargeables. And, just to be sure, we also have a battery tester that can measure the charge level in all of those sizes as well as in any button cell batteries that we might use in our bathroom scales, hearing aids, or whatever else.
And while this is obvious to anyone who has ever used batteries, the reason that we need a battery tester is that you can’t know a battery’s charge condition, that is, how much charge is on (or in) a particular battery without testing it. But we humans aren’t all that different. We put on a good face to the world, but we keep what’s inside hidden. We might reveal our hearts to a few people who are closest to us, but we rarely talk about our emotional energy level, or our personal “charge condition.” There are times, as parents, as laborers, and as human beings, that life simply takes a toll on us. Times when we seem to just keep on giving, and the world keeps on taking our energy, until we feel as if we are running on empty and have nothing left to give.
Social Distancing isn’t helping. While it’s possible that introverts may suffer less, extroverts gain energy through personal contact, from engaging in conversation, and from just being present with other people. But the pandemic has stolen that from us. If we’re lucky, we are still working, but we are working from home, or our employers have instituted policies that help us keep our distance from one another. And while that might help to keep us safe from the Coronavirus, it drains us of the emotional energy that we need to survive and thrive.
If I need a battery from our charging table, I know that the batteries that are on the charger are good ones. Current has been trickling into them so that when we need them, and their energy, they are ready. But the batteries that have been sitting in a box, separated from the thing that fuels them, are anybody’s guess. But they all look the same on the outside. You can’t tell by looking at them.
And spiritually, we are fighting that same battle. Because of the Coronavirus, and because of social distancing, we aren’t gathering, we aren’t worshipping together, and some of us aren’t even bothering to spend time on spiritual matters at all. Without that weekly meeting, without those human interactions, it becomes all too easy to neglect our spiritual health altogether.
And as a result, our emotional and spiritual batteries are running down. We increasingly feel drained, weak, and empty. And in that condition, we won’t be ready to go when we, and our full strength, is needed. When we feel drained and empty, we are less likely to stand up for the oppressed, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, to do the work of the church, or to be Jesus to the world around us.
We must fight back.
Once we pay attention to our charge condition, it becomes easier to make it a priority. The batteries on our charging table only need a little trickle of current to be prepared. But they need to be exposed to the current for the charger to do any good. We need that exposure too. We need to find ways to charge our emotional and spiritual cores. We need to fight. Do whatever works for you. Arrange to call a friend for an hour one, two, or three days every week. Plan a Zoom meeting with your family for no other reason than just to talk. Open your Bible. Attend Sunday school via Zoom. Read a Psalm every morning, and one chapter of the Gospels in the evening, read a hymn, sing a song by yourself, watch a worship service on YouTube (even if it’s Tuesday). Write notes to your friends and to people who you know are isolated and lonely.
We are not alone.
We must fight together.
We will get through this, but if we neglect our spiritual and emotional “charge condition” we will continue to drain our batteries and run on empty.
Pick up the phone. Open your Bible.
Do whatever it takes to charge your emotional and spiritual batteries.
Because we cannot survive or thrive if we’re empty.
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