Taking time to Re-energize Myself
(Portions by Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church)

I need to ask myself,  “What do I need to say “No” to so that I can make time for myself?”

If I think of my inner soul as a bucket, it helps me visualize my life. I know I can’t give away what I don’t have. So it makes sense that if my bucket is empty, I have nothing left-over to give to others. So I need to ask myself, “Am I running on full — or empty?” If my bucket is empty, I need to find out Who or What fills my bucket? I need to start doing things to take care of myself.

When my bucket is empty, I not only feel depleted — I am depleted. Here are some Warning Signs to alert me when I am running on empty.

  • Overwhelmed?
  • Exhausted?
  • Feel Hopeless?
  • Angry?
  • Self-Pity Party?
  • Easily Irritated?
  • Worried or Anxious?
  • Resentful toward Others?
  • Withdraw or Isolate?
  • Apathetic?
  • Stay Busy?
  • Seek Comfort in _________? (Eating? Shopping?)
  • Escape into _____________? (Work? Self-Destructive Behavior?)

Questions to Ask Myself
(by Jennifer Mangan, Family Therapist and Recovery Leader)

  •  How connected do I feel to God? Does He feel connected to me?
  • How am I making space for Him in my life?
  • Am I isolating myself from God’s presence? Why?
  • How connected am I to God’s people?
  • Who knows me and all my stuff — the good, the bad, the ugly?
  • When is the last time I asked for help?
  • How alone do I feel right now?
  • What red flag emotions am I struggling with currently? Anger? Anxiety? Hopelessness? Apathy? Guilt? Shame? Resentment? What is fueling those emotions?
  • When is the last time I said “No” to someone who asked for something?
  • Have I said “Yes” to anything I am now regretting?
  • How much time do I reserve each day for self-care and soul nurture?
  • What does the way I spend my time say about my soul?
  • Do I often feel the need to escape from my reality?
  • Am I always tired and overwhelmed?
  • Have I been taking matters into my own hands instead of relying or waiting on God?
  • How much time do I spend worrying about my spouse / kids each day?
  • When is the last time I gave unsolicited advice to my spouse / kids / friends?
  • Am I eating healthy, exercising, and resting enough? Am I caring for my body well?
  • What is my greatest concern right now? How am I dealing with it?
  • Is everything I’m doing in step with what I sense the Holy Spirit is leading me to do and to be?
  • Is there anything or anyone I need to step back from in order to maintain my sanity?
  • How does my spouse think I’m doing?
  • Are there any areas of my heart that need more care / more healing? What is my plan for addressing those areas? Who is holding me accountable to act on my plan?

Depending on where you are at in your journey, how much you have matured and how stressful life is for you, you need to set aside space on your calendar to meet with at least two other people who will hold you accountable. This checklist is a living document that will change as you grow. Optimally, you should have three good questions to ask yourself in each of the three areas of your life you are maintaining:

* Relationship with God * Relationship with Others * Relationship with Self

Choose questions based on the areas you need to grow and the places in your heart where you find yourself vulnerable. If after checking in you find that there is an area of life that needs attention, rely on safe friends to encourage and support you as you move forward with what God has revealed.