Most of us pour ourselves out in various ways. We serve others at work, including co-workers, customers and bosses. We also serve family and friends to varying degrees. In our service to others to fulfill the various roles that we maintain, we get emptied out. Our offerings of service require a an expenditure on our part whether we realize it or not.
So we go through life offering of ourselves and the more we learn about Life, the more we realize that we experience depth and fulfillment as we do give of ourselves. As we get beyond ourselves, we gain great satisfaction from seeing the benefit that we provide in the lives of others. It’s like exercising in that we gain strength and endurance from actually engaging in the activity so as we give, we learn to give more.
While we gain satisfaction and fulfillment from the times where we see the impact we have in the life of someone else through our service, the effort does come at a cost. The continual offering of self to family, friends, work and other groups that we engage in requires an expense of that which we have to offer. Our tank gets emptied out as we pour out in the lives of others.
For that reason, I’m seeing now more than ever that it’s extremely important to have a plan for getting filled back up. It’s important to have key relationships which encourage (give courage) and build up. People in our lives that call out the best in us and are givers from which we can receive. This doesn’t have to be a one-way flow; the encouragement and building up is best when there is a mutual benefit.
For this to happen, there has to be trust and transparency which sometimes takes some time. There has to be a common place of experience and belief which allows for understanding without always filling in the back story. The common place of understanding allows for immediate depth without the explanation or defense of beliefs.
The other day, I met with a couple of trusted friends while I was in the middle of a spot where I found myself empty. They asked me how things were going and I told them “terrible” without any social courtesies; we just got right down to it. Because I trust them and they knew me, we had a great time of natural, relational sharpening and investing. I came away better than when I got there and I hope they did, too. The time with them prepared me for time with others.
For those of us who are married, this is important in our marriage relationship. My wife needs to know that I am for her by the conduct of my actions as well as the tone and words of our dialogue. She needs to know that I am “in” and that the tough times are bumps, not defining moments. She needs me to meet her where she is and allow her to be there. I need the same from her.
It’s also important for gender specific relationships for men to speak into the lives of men and women into the lives of women. We can’t give away what we don’t have so only another man, full of Strength and Life, can offer a masculine, healthy impartation of Strength and Life – iron sharpening iron. Then, sharpened and full of Courage from the encouragement of real relationship, I am equipped to carry that which has been placed inside me to the rest of the world and advance the Purposes which are Greater than me but entrusted to me just the same.