Reserves are replenished when there’s more coming in than there is going out.

That’s how it works. That’s why people come back from their vacations feeling better, and why folks who have taken real time off, like a sabbatical, come back almost different human beings. Your reserve tanks don’t just magically fill up, no more than your car’s gas tank does. They definitely don’t replenish when you’re burning everything just to maintain what you call your “normal life.” That’s why you make a plan for recovery and resilience.

You’ll want to arrange for periods where more is coming in than is going out.

Whatever your operating capacity is—whether that’s currently 40 percent, 60 percent, or 95 percent of what used to be your full capacity—your current operating capacity is what you need to pay attention to. You need to throttle back to allow your reserves to fill back up.

I hear the objections at once: But you don’t know my life! You don’t know what my boss is asking of me! What my kids need right now! I completely understand. We are all hard-pressed, some of us more than others. But there’s a way to account for even this.

We burn through so much of our emotional, mental, and spiritual energy simply through worry, anger, being generally unsettled, and by taking in too much of the over-whelming news of the world. Picture a gambler standing before a slot machine and repeatedly, almost mindlessly, dropping in silver dollar after silver dollar. Soon she has nothing left in her purse and nothing to show for it. The sociodrama of the world is the slot machine; the silver dollars represent our personal resources. We spend it all like the gambler until we choose to walk away.

Friends, you can turn and walk away. Without needing one more day of vacation or some ideal work schedule, you can walk away from a whole lot of what is currently draining you.

I beg of you—practice benevolent detachment.

We do need to provide for periods in the rhythm of our week, month, and year where we are intentionally operating below our capacity to replenish reserves. It doesn’t have to be limited to your vacation time. It’s something you can build into the rhythm of your life. Which evenings each week are blocked out in your calendar? You should block several out: no activity, no nothin’. Turn your phone off, and let your soul simply rest.

God commands Sabbath once a week however you observe it, and I think now you can see the brilliance of his command. We need margin to replenish, margin that is so protected it is sacred margin—untouchable, nonnegotiable.

The simplest (and by far the most reliable) route I have ever found for getting breathing room in my life is to begin asking Jesus about the plans I make for my life.

Honestly, I’m always startled at how much feels to me to be utterly necessary, unavoidable—but when I asked Christ about it, he rescued me from the pressure. I didn’t need to make that call that evening. I didn’t need to do that project that weekend. I didn’t need to get involved in someone else’s drama even though I felt I should.

Jesus has consistently opened up margin in my life that I didn’t think was possible. And in that margin I have been able to recover and replenish my reserves.

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