A Gift You Won’t Regret
Crucible brother Roy Wooten really convicted me last week when he wrote about the shame he used to carry when he pursued self-care. If you haven’t read his post, I recommend it.
I want to build upon what Roy started and invite you to give yourself the gift of a Replenishment Cycle that will fuel you with the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical energy you need to be a Crucible man on mission. Self-care isn’t selfish. In fact, it is a command from Jesus.
You see, Jesus had the foresight to know that we can’t give what we don’t already have. In Matthew 22: 37-39, Jesus shares with us what he called the greatest commandment(s): “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor (others) as yourself.”
I can’t unpack these verses any better than Gary Smalley of Focus on the Family has already done. Here’s what he writes: “When you love God with every part of your being, He fills you up to overflowing with His amazing love. Out of that overflow, you give to others. This is the balanced life, the only kind of life worth living. But notice something crucial: If you don’t take care of yourself, you have no overflow. Without an overflow, you find it hard to take care of others — and almost impossible to obey Jesus’ command. “
DESIGNING YOUR PERSONAL REPLENISHMENT CYCLE
The premise of a Replenishment Cycle is that managing energy — not time — is a primary driver for us to be fully engaged, present, productive and creative in all of areas of our life (personal, family, vocational, church, community). I was first introduced to the Replenishment Cycle during a life plan I did back in 2013. I’ve been fine-tuning and experimenting with it ever since. Here’s how you can get started:
- Grab a sheet of paper and write down 10 things you have enjoyed in the past, or would like to try now that you enjoy personally. They can be activities related to health and wellness (e.g. running, cross-training, biking, eliminating sugar from your diet, etc.). Or perhaps they’re personal passions or hobbies (weekly motorcycle ride, boating on Sunday afternoons, a round of golf, writing, playing in your garage band, etc.). For me, I get a lot of personal satisfaction around gathering with friends and family around our fire pit every Friday evening. It’s a simple, relaxing way to reflect on the week and start my weekend.
- Of that list of 10, circle THREE that you have complete control over and can start practicing as soon as tomorrow.
- Be as specific and descriptive as possible about what’s realistic for you. In other words, don’t write down “exercise.” Instead, ask yourself: “What kind of exercise?” “How much?” “What are the best days and times for me?”
- A good outcome would look like this: Exercise 4X/week; 2 cardio & 2 weights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday mornings.
- Next, make a commitment and schedule them on your calendar.
- These are the activities that touch our heart and make us feel like treasured sons of the most high God.
- Same drill. Write down 10 things that you have done in the past, or would like to try. Make sure they are things that give you joy and fuel you spiritually (e.g. silence and solitude, reading scripture, Sabbath, devotionals, listening to worship music, prayer walks).
- Circle THREE that you have complete control over and can start practicing as soon as tomorrow.
- Be as specific, descriptive and realistic as possible (what’s important here is that you establish momentum, not that you get it perfect). Maybe some are daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. You decide.
- Schedule them on your calendar, (like the old adage says: What gets scheduled gets done.)
- For me, I combine one of my physical activities with one of my spiritual ones. At least 5X a week, I get up early (after quiet time, 15 minutes of reading scripture and prayer) and do what I call a 45-minute worship walk. I like it because I’m outside in nature (crisp morning air, sunrise) and I’m starting my day with music and lyrics that draw me closer to God. That’s what works for me. Try things out, and do what works best for you.
- These are activities that engage our minds and keep us mentally sharp. For me they include listening to various podcasts during my morning commute, and reading blogs and books at night and on weekends (biographies, emotional health, spiritual health, leadership, etc.)
- Write down 10, circle THREE for you.
- Be as specific, descriptive and realistic as possible.
- You guessed it … schedule them on your calendar.
- These are the replenishment activities that nurture our souls. These activities make us feel loved, cared for and heard. In turn, they allow us to extend the same to the people in our lives who matter most.
- I believe this is how The Crucible Project really differentiates itself from any other Christian men’s ministry. This is because the Crucible Project is the best organization I know of that equips us to be emotional leaders.
- Examples that have worked for me: Doing a Crucible-like “check-in” with my family every night at dinner Staying engaged and continuing my work with my alumni group from the two-year transformational program; staffing at least one Crucible initial weekend each year; blessing my daughter with words of affirmation each night at bedtime, and ending my day by jotting down the things I am thankful for.
- Write down 10 for you. Either things you’ve already done, or new things you would like to try.
- Circle THREE to focus on initially.
- Be as specific, descriptive and realistic as possible. Put them on your calendar.
- If you can’t come up with three activities in each area don’t worry about it. Do what you can … even if it is just one.
- Consistency trumps perfection. Far better that you master the few that you’re starting with than to be mediocre — and stressed — about boiling the ocean with multiple replenishment activities.
- Experiment and refine. If you don’t end up enjoying one of the replenishment activities, release it and try a new one. You may have to experiment with frequency, too. Maybe daily is too much and you have to dial down to three times a week.
- Focus on what is right for you and don’t worry about what your Crucible buddy is doing. Just like every fingerprint is unique, so is every replenishment cycle.
If you want more meat on the bones for this topic, here is some recommended reading:
- The Power of Full Engagement, by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown
- Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod
- Michael Hyatt: The Surprising Power of Daily Rituals; How to Become a Morning Person; How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day
I’d love to hear more about what you’re trying and what you’re learning as you build your personal replenishment cycle and then fine-tune it along the way. The journey continues …
– By Jeff Madsen
Jeff completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2008 and graduated from our two-year transformational program. His mission is to build a legacy of surrender, simplicity and significance. Jeff is the owner of Legacy Nation LLC, an independent corporate communications practice based in suburban Chicago. He is passionate about equipping men with a LifePlan so they can discover their God-given legacies.
Photo Credit: Wolfgang Staudt via Creative Commons