“Burnout is a way of telling you that your form of activism was perhaps not very full circle.”
– Gloria Steinem
Last year, I encountered somet hing that was a bit different. Most men wouldn’t admit it out loud to their wives or even their friends but they lose steam or they will lose their joy. After eight hours of work, following their dreams and the vision that God has given to them, after the kids are in bed, after the supper is eaten…. men lose steam. I had this happen to me after Sara and I had been married for a while and had had our children. I was going to work, driving in traffic for an hour, dealing with stress (or not dealing), driving home in traffic for an hour, coming home to three girls under three, noise, chaos, dinner, baths, church, business….you get the point. I was overwhelmed! The positive side to this is that my wife took note and did all that she could do. But it wasn’t her responsibility to keep me happy. It was mine and mine alone. It was here at this moment that God put this in my heart “What happens when Daddy runs out of gas?”
Friend, that’s exactly where I was at. I had no gas. I had no energy. I had no ambition. All I wanted to do was go somewhere and sleep. So I had to come to the point where I asked “what happens when there’s nothing left to give and the reserves have been dwindled to a mere drop? What happens when Dad is running on fumes?
I wasn’t sure how I would address this or even how I would approach it. I felt that the Lord was directing me to address this subject head on. It’s a messy subject unlike many that men face. Dad’s all across this great nation decided one day to quit. Why? There’s no gas in their tank. These are a few things that I have worked out and found success. You may do something totally different. You may think this is completely idiotic. Hey, I am not the one whose out of gas and reading this on empty?
1. Get in the Word. It’s religious. I know that some of you will look at that and say, “I know that but with what time?” You find it. You make it. The Word of God is your life line. The Word of God is your direction. When you don’t know what to do, go to God and He will give it to you (James 1:5). Without the Word, you will run out of gas.
2. Get alone. Most men won’t admit it but they are overwhelmed with being a father. We are truly equipped to be the men of God that we are called to be. However, there are times when a father needs to get alone. Go out for a walk for an hour or so. Work on a fun project. Go to the library or the coffee shop. Get out. Get alone for a brief period of time. Sometimes a fifteen minute break will completely refresh you for the net trial.
3. Get away. Several years ago, I had gone through a rough time and I was battling a darkness that was out of this world. I found myself doubting and I couldn’t hear God. I told my wife that I needed to get away. Away we went camping for a night. I recognized that I needed some time away from the kids and home to get my mind wrapped around the important things. Don’t get me wrong men, our children are very important to us. However, we need a few moments away from the business of raising children. After the 18 years that they are on this earth and move out, you don’t want to find yourself looking at your wife and say “who are you?” I needed my woman which leads to my next point…
4. Tell your spouse your needs. We as men aren’t built for communication. No shock there. But often we shut down at pivotal moments when we have a need to be met. We close off because are prideful or we don’t want to put our spouse out. I struggled with this in the first few years of our marriage and still at times find myself putting my needs on the back burner. The only problem with this is that it closes communication and it also causes resentment. God put those needs (sexual and non sexual) in men so that there can be a relationship and communication.
5. Forsake Not The Assembly. Men are notorious for staying home from church and leaving behind the wife to be the spiritual head. Honestly men, this is absolutely absurd. When you act as the spiritual head, you gain a lot of the strength that you need to get through the tough times in your life. Start small.
These things do not just apply to men, but they apply to women as well. As we operate our homes, our businesses, and other things in our lives, we just need a refill so we can be the best person that we can be!