The Emotional Tank
Let’s look at your emotional tank. Yes, guys, this is about your feelings, but don’t be afraid. I’m not going to make you share your feelings. But I do want you to take a look at your emotional tank. There are many things that impact your emotions—your childhood, your current situation. And what fills your emotional tank may be different from what fills mine. For some of you, getting away from your regular routine or creative expression like painting or music fills your emotional tanks. But some of the greatest things that impact your emotional tank are the people in your life. Think about the relationships in your world. If you have kids, your kids are either filling or emptying your emotional tank. We all love our kids, but they can be very draining to our emotional tanks. Then there are your relationships at work: your boss, your co-workers, and your employees are either filling or draining your emotional tank. There are your relationships in your neighborhood or extended family. They are either filling or draining your emotional tank.
You may be thinking, Whoa, wait, I thought you were talking about our relationships with God. What do our relationships with others have to do with that? Part of loving God first is having people in your life who fill you, who help make you the emotional man or woman God wants you to be. For me, this happens on a couple of different levels. There are “official” levels, like being a part of a small group of guys. These are guys who allow me to be real, who pray for me, and we typically focus on a study or curriculum that is designed to draw us to each other and to God. On a less official level, I have a couple of guys I make sure to spend time with, especially when my emotional tank is low. Now, if I showed you videos of these times, they might not look that spiritual. Do I ask them to pray for me? Absolutely. But if you saw our time together, you would primarily see a couple of guys having lunch and laughing.
This is so great for my emotional tank. And when that tank is full, it is one way I give God the best emotional part of me. It is also great for my marriage when my emotional tank is full, because I have something to give Nancie if she needs to make a withdrawal from my emotional tank. Let me show you the difference. If my tank is empty, and Nancie and I need to talk about something difficult like something going on with our kids, I have nothing to draw from, nothing to give. When this is the case, I tend to be frustrated, tired, spent, and empty. If my tank is full, I can dig and talk about how we should handle the situation and not feel completely exhausted or depleted by it. It makes all the difference in the world.
You may be thinking, Are you saying that hanging out with great friends is loving God and great for my marriage? YES, but with this one bit of caution: You have to know without a shadow of a doubt that these people want your relationship with God and your marriage to win. Almost no one ever divorces in isolation. They find people to agree that divorce is the answer. The same is true for most strong marriages. People living in isolation do not have dear friends who want them to win in every sense of the word. Find people who want your relationship with God and your marriage to win, and spend intentional time with them. This really helps keep your emotional tank full, and it’s a great way to truly love God first. And not only are you able to give God your best emotional you, but you can give the same thing to your spouse.
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