A few months ago I gave a talk on a retreat about how we all have a spiritual battery, much like our phones have batteries. These batteries can run low and from time to time need to be charged. If you follow along with this blog you might have noticed that I haven’t posted in quite a while. I guess I’ve been a little busy with my new job, so I haven’t really had time to write much. But another reason is that my spiritual battery has been running low. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. It’s been exactly what I hoped it would be and then some. I enjoy going into work every day and I feel like I’m making a difference. But I’ve been putting so much energy into the job that it’s been draining my spiritual battery. Over the last few weeks I haven’t taken much time to really take a step back and take a breath. I’ve been wanting to write about something lately but 1) haven’t had the energy and 2) haven’t been sure what to write about. I figured the idea of spiritual batteries was relevant with where I am in life right now.
There’s this inexplicable feeling when your phone is fully charged. It’s a sense of complete invincibility. In my mind that 100% charge is going to last me for days. I have absolutely no inhibitions using it, cycling through all my apps over and over. I get so engulfed in my phone that I don’t even notice the battery gradually depleting. After hours constantly checking and using my phone it’s suddenly at 20%. That’s when I typically start to become more aware of the fact that my phone battery isn’t actually invincible. But that doesn’t slow me down too much. I still use my apps liberally and it’s not until my phone hits 10% that I really start to panic. It finally hits me that my phone might actually die and I frantically try to find a charger. Meanwhile, I significantly cut back on my phone usage, hoping to keep it alive for as long as possible. I’m a little embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve let my phone die. And in this day in age being without a phone is an empty feeling. I know that sounds super dramatic but our phones have become our way to stay connected with the people and the world around us (plus it fits in with my analogy, so just go with it).
I like to think our spiritual batteries operate the same way. When our faith is on fire it feels like will never fade. We feel like that 100% charged faith battery will last us a lifetime. But, like our phones, it inevitably fades over time. Your faith can still sustain you and may last you quite a while. In fact, you may not even notice it depleting, much like I don’t notice my phone battery draining until it reaches 20%. More often than not I’ll start to charge my phone when it reaches 20%. But like I said earlier, there have been plenty of times where I’ve let it die. I’ve let the same thing happen with my faith more than I’d like to admit. I’ll come off of a retreat high and expect it to last me forever. But over time that high fades and I reach a point where I feel empty and lost. If you read my first blog post you might remember those “funks” I talked about. Those are times where my spiritual battery was completely drained. The stress of work, the monotony of life, and general frustrations drained my battery and led me to times of emptiness. It’s always one of those things where you don’t realize the point you’re at until you’re there, just like when your phone is 5%.
This all sounds bleak and depressing. But the good news? There are ways to keep your spiritual battery from getting drained. Just like you charge your phone battery you can charge your spiritual battery. Over the years I’ve discovered ways to charge my own spiritual battery, things that make me feel alive. I came up with a pretty extensive list for my talk, and some of the ways that work best for me include: adoration, praise and worship music, small groups, service, retreats, and listening to talks. These are things that not only help sustain my spiritual battery but actively charge it. They lead me closer to God and help give me a sense of purpose. But there are times where I let my spiritual battery drain to the point where doing some of those things feels more like a chore. Laziness sets in. Doing those things become more of a burden. I think I can scrape by with the little bit of charge I have left. The equivalent is thinking 15% on my phone is enough to last me the rest of the day and so I don’t bother looking for a charger. It’s not until it’s too late that I realize how much my battery needed to charge.
It’s sad how attached I am to the apps on my phone. I literally spend hours a day mindlessly thumbing through them. They keep me content in the moment but they also cause my battery to drain more quickly. I’m so engulfed in them and distracted by them that I don’t notice how quickly my battery is draining. The same concept applies to the things that consume us in life. They may make us happy in the moment but they do nothing to actively charge us or cause us to grow as individuals. It could be anything that detracts from your personal fulfillment. For me it’s TV. Watching TV shows is such a huge distraction for me and is something that has prevented me from truly reaching my full potential. In the moment I enjoy it but every time I look back I realize how much time I’ve wasted. What more could I have been doing? Instead it drains my spiritual battery. There are also much more serious things that drain our batteries more quickly. Sins that we struggle with, temptations we battle, obstacles we face. These things drain our spiritual batteries more than we realize. The more apps we use, the sooner our phones will inch to death. The more distractions and obligations we have in life the closer we get to spiritual emptiness. This isn’t to say that we should give up all the apps on our phones or to not use our phones at all. But maybe we should be a little more selective about the apps we use. Maybe you have so many obligations and responsibilities in your life that you feel like you’re being run ragged. Maybe that means there’s something in your life that you need to reevaluate and think about letting go. Unfortunately it’s not always so easy to identify what to cut from our lives. And in any case, it might only delay the inevitable. Simply not using your phone or your apps won’t prevent it from eventually dying. That means we can’t just sit at home and do nothing and expect our spiritually battery to remain fully charged. We need to be active and intentional about our efforts to charge our batteries.
Every phone is different. Some phones charge within an hour and some might take all day. It’s the same thing for each of us. For some, all it takes to recharge is a weekend retreat. For others, it takes a little more time. It takes a lot of effort and patience. And on the same note, everyone’s batteries drain at a different rate. Retreat highs for some people will last months. On the other hand, there are people whose batteries drain within days. Additionally, every charger is different. I once had a charger in the house that I knew didn’t work. And yet, time and time again, I tried to use it knowing full well it wouldn’t help. There are things that might charge my spiritual battery that won’t charge yours. For me, retreats never fail to recharge my battery. However, some people don’t get much out of retreats. I personally don’t get much out of bible studies but for some people that’s their best charger. I think it’s important to remember that everyone’s spiritual battery is different and charge and drain at different rates.
Whenever I leave a retreat fully charged I always try to remember that feeling. That feeling of fulfillment and purpose. That feeling of being on top of the world. That feeling that I can do anything. That’s the feeling I try to recall when my spiritual battery is close to empty. That feeling is what motivates me and pushes me to charge my battery. I like to imagine what life would be like if my spiritual battery was 100% charged all the time. What would I be able to accomplish? I know that’s not feasible but I think it should be the goal. We should always strive to improve ourselves and keep our spiritual batteries charged because then we can change the world around us.
One last thing I’d like to mention is that we can be spiritual chargers for the people around us. We can lift each other up, guide one another, love one another. We can help those in our lives fulfill their purpose and find themselves simply by listening and actively doing what we can to support them. I know I wouldn’t have been able to charge my spiritual batteries without the people in my life. You never know where someone’s spiritual battery is. Every interaction with any given person can charge their spiritual battery without you even knowing.
One thought on “Spiritual Battery”
This post is so spot on. Thank you for so perfectly putting into words the things I think and feel!