I confess that I have a bad habit, that involves my computer cord.
Like many of you, I use a laptop for my work. This laptop is light and easy to transport, so it’s no problem to take it back and forth from my office to my house. Yet, for some reason, every time I take it to work I play a risky game: I leave the cord with the laptop plug at home.
I don’t know why I do this. I see my laptop, happily plugged into the wall, and I fold it up, UNHOOK it from the cord, and tell myself: “Meh…I’ll be fine without the cord today. The battery will last long enough.”
And you know what? The battery never lasts long enough. Like, NEVER. I have never had success with this “go-all-day-without-plugging-in-my-laptop” experiment of mine. At about 3:00 in the afternoon, the little battery icon starts to blink telling me my laptop is about to die. And, shortly after that – kaput. It’s not the computer’s fault. Or the battery’s fault. For some reason, I think this device can last as long as I want without having to recharge. This is not true.
And every time I’m frustrated! I chastise myself: “Now Leanne, you should have taken the cord. You knew you’d need it. Don’t do this again!”
But then the next morning comes, and I optimistically unplug my computer and head to work, telling myself once again that the computer can last all day without charging.
I know this is a bit ridiculous. I see that. But you know what is even more ridiculous? How often I do this with myself.
I have a teeny weeny tendency to overcommit and take on too many things. There are just SO MANY THINGS that I want to do! There’s so much great stuff out there! So when I’m asked to meet with another person or give another talk or take part in another project I happily say yes, even at times that I know that I don’t have enough battery to do it all.
“I’ll be fine,” I tell myself, “I can keep going as long as I need.”
This never proves to be true.
After pushing myself too hard, I end up like my computer at about 3pm. I go kaput. I get overwhelmed and exhausted, and I hear myself asking: “Why did I agree to doing all these things? Why did I keep going so hard without taking a break?” I realize that once again I forgot that people need to recharge, even more than computers do. I remember that I can’t go forever without making space for soul care.
When I say “soul care” I’m referring to our need to look after the deepest parts of who we are. This is the space we make to care for our physical, mental and spiritual well being. Soul care means taking space to let God care for us. For me, soul care looks like journaling, time with friends, or long walks in nature. For you, it may include time to explore a hobby that you enjoy, family games night or going to church. Soul Care includes the things that help us to recharge. We all need it.
I know a lot of you may be like me. We’ve been conditioned to value busyness and overachievement more than rest and contemplation. Soul Care is rarely on the “to do” list. Between work and carpools and soccer practice and errands and the next-important-thing we push off caring for our souls. We unplug ourselves from what matters most to us and hope that our internal batteries will sustain us indefinitely. Sadly, they won’t.
This is the lesson of my computer cord: we regularly need to plug in to what restores us. We cannot charge on without recharging first. We were not designed to ignore our deepest needs. God didn’t make us that way.
So…I’m working on bringing my computer cord to work each day. Even more importantly, I’m working on recharging myself with a little Soul Care. It’s not always easy. And it’s always good.