20 Sep 2016 Refueling the tank
by Laurie Green
I have always been an encourager and a doer for others. Seriously, if you have doubts that you’re able to do something, come hang out with me for a while and I will have you not only doing that thing you feared, I’ll have you convinced you’re a professional at it.
It simply comes easily to me to encourage and inspire others. I’m not a “is the glass half full or half empty” type of person. I’m a “hey look how lucky you are, you have a glass!” kind of person. For the record, the world is full of us “superhero encouragers.” If you pay close enough attention, you will see how God has strategically placed us all around other types of personalities. And while I agree that from the outside looking in it appears to be all sunshine and lollipops in an encourager’s life, most of us have one fatal flaw — we NEVER do for ourselves.
I suppose this shouldn’t seem like a problem, but the truth is, you can’t run a vehicle without first taking the time to fill it up. Then add in a few factors. The heavier the load you carry, the quicker you run out of fuel. This is where the problem begins. As an encourager, you get fueled up, your tank is at max capacity and you’re ready to roll, but all too often we never stop long enough to fill back up. We run and run, we get bigger and bigger loads to carry and we just don’t take the time to be good to ourselves. In my mind, I feel very selfish if I do for myself. Nevertheless, if that vehicle your pushing 90 to nothing doesn’t stop and refuel and get proper maintenance, you will find yourself broken down and having to completely depend on the help of others.
This is where I ended up recently — stranded on the side of the road, depending on help from others. I’ve never really taken time for myself. Like I said, I feel guilty, but not taking time to properly maintain this body the Lord blessed me with put me in a position to need a total knee replacement.
Not just one knee, but both will be done by the time you are reading this. For a person who goes and goes, this put me on pause. I had to completely and totally depend on others for help. It put me in a very uncomfortable place, but it allowed God to reveal some things to me. Why did I feel it was OK to bless others, but uncomfortable when they blessed me? Why did getting flowers and cards and meals from friends and family who love and care for me make me feel guilty? I loved the feeling of blessing others, so why did I find it hard to let others bless me? God let me know flat out, I was stealing others’ blessings when I refuse to let them help. Ouch! But conviction is a good thing; it allows for change.
Perhaps you’re reading this now and thinking this is a problem you face. Maybe that small, still voice of conviction is whispering that you need to slow down and refuel. This is a good thing, it really is. You see, the truth is, God made encouragers special, but we have to find the time to take care of ourselves. Give these earthly vehicles we call our body the proper maintenance and care they deserve. Take time to look at yourself in the mirror and love what you see looking back at you. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” God created you fearfully and wonderfully and it is absolutely OK for you to treat yourself that way! You can’t bless or pour into anyone if your own cup is empty, my friend.
Since my knee replacement I’ve developed some healthy habits. I’ve started feeding myself and treating myself like I think God would want me to. I’ve made time for exercise, and it’s honestly been good to allow myself these amenities and to not feel guilty. The truth is I feel better. I’ve lost some much-needed weight, which in turn has increased my energy levels and allowed me to look and feel better. In turn, I’m able to encourage and do more for others than I could before. I’m stopping every single day and refueling myself with God in order to handle whatever load I may pull that day. I never could have done it if I didn’t end up in a place where I had to be on the receiving end of the blessing.
So I want to encourage all you mighty encouragers out there. It’s OK to take care of yourselves and to do something that makes you feel happy!
Allow others to bless you without making a fuss; stop stealing their blessing. Refuel every single day and do all you can to build others up along the way. This life is good if we just take care of ourselves so we can enjoy it.
A Greenbrier native, Laurie is the wife of Will Green. The two share seven children, five grandchildren and a golden retriever named Marlo. They own and operate a lawn care business and are members of New Life Church in Greenbrier. Laurie can be reached at [email protected]