My boss-to-be Phil told me a few weeks ago that he describes ministry events as being “life-giving” or “life-sucking.” The latter, of course, not as in something that makes life suck, but something that sucks life out of you. The more I’ve thought about this paradigm the more I like it– it’s a good way of thinking about things, and even helps set priorities.
To start with, you have to figure out what’s life-giving and what’s life-sucking for you. This won’t be the same for everyone– for the extrovert, spending an evening with a crowd of people will be life-giving; for me that’s about as life-sucking as it gets. Life-sucking doesn’t mean you never do a thing, it just means you need to to something life-giving to recover from it. Some things I’ve realized about myself that I need to remember:
- Life-sucking: being inside. Life-giving: being outside.
- Life-sucking: internet. Life-giving: reading.
- Life-sucking: channel-surfing. Life-giving: Movie or show you intentionally watch.
- Life-sucking: party. Life-giving: close friends over for dinner.
Sometimes life-sucking things are fun, like when I do fish frys for Tyler.
What all this means is that I need to remember which of these things are which. When I come home at the end of the day I might feel like turning on the TV, but in the end that won’t be life-giving– going for a walk with Melissa & Sam will. If I have a free evening, Facebook won’t be a life-giving use of the time, but talking on the couch with Melissa will. And if, for ministry or other reasons, I need to do a life-sucking thing, then I try to prepare myself and enjoy it, planning to follow it up with a life-giving event when I can.
What’s life-giving and life-sucking for you?