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  • Steph Fink

Victory in Living Beyond the Hamster Wheel

My friend, are you running on empty? Are you tired of being tired?

Are you over EVERYTHING?

Is it time to fill er’ up but you don’t know what, where to start, or how to get off the freakin’ hamsterwheel?The signs and symptoms of running on empty are subtle and not-so-subtle. There’s something very special about being in my 40’s that is so freeing. There’s been sort of an awakening, a renaissance that’s happened, kind of like when you were in school and you were given a permission slip to skip a class; I’ve given myself a permission slip to skip the crap and be me. And it’s good. Freakishly good, a tad scary, and very freeing.

As I very broadly look back to capture my years – here’s the big picture. My teenage years were all about me – it was the me show. Then in my twenties, I felt like I was trying to prove myself – really more to myself than any one else but in life, work, and serving I wore my butt flat out. Except my butt didn’t get flat – it got rounder. People pleasing is exhausting.

In my thirties, I sort of drifted away and lost myself in the 3 M’s – marriage, motherhood, and ministry.

I wanted to be a good wife, mom, and Christian by trying to slay all areas…except in self care. I mean, I dabbled in self care but had other things I prioritized higher. I placed me low on the priority list and ran around, far too often on empty. If someone had a need, I wanted to be the woman to help. And I wore out and often resentfully went to bed thinking, “All that I’ve done for….” or “What about me?”

The thing is I used my 3M’s to avoid another M – me. There were cracks that needed attention but I kept on doing good stuff to avoid the best stuff, the happy and hard work.

I love people. I love my people. I love connecting with old people and meeting new people. I’ve learned that it’s impossible to fully love people unless I’ve also loved myself. I can’t pour into others if I’m pouring from and empty cup. Drips aren’t filling.

Through most of my life, I’ve poured from an empty cup. Yes, even after loving Jesus, I often poured from an empty cup because I thought that meant I was doing a really good job as a Christian. I’ve since learned that serving others as a way to avoid myself does not in any way honor them or my Jesus. Loving people is so important but to fully love others, I must fully love myself. It’s time to un-apologetically FILL ER’ UP!

So I made a list because journaling helps me process life.

Things I Do That Make Me Feel Full:

  • Walking outside

  • Journaling

  • Date nights

  • Honest talking with friend

  • Sitting and pray

  • Living out my purpose

  • Encouraging women

  • Protecting and enjoying family Sunday

  • Quietness

  • Undisturbed time with my family

  • Enjoying a good meal

  • Exercising

  • Waking up early

  • Having a session with my counselor

  • Praying for someone I’m ticked off at

  • Reading a good book

  • Going to a support meeting

  • Trusting my gut

  • Good night of sleeping

  • Advocating for myself

  • Drinking a good cup of coffee

  • Visiting social media

  • Identifying a healthy boundary and stating it

  • Power napping

  • Stillness

  • Enjoying a good glass of red wine or microbrew

  • Showering

  • Listening to a good podcast

  • Saying, “No.” to maintain margin

  • Painting my nails

  • Watching a good movie or TV show

  • Sitting by the water

  • Gathering with powerful, real, women

  • Traveling

Things I Do That Make Me Feel Empty

  • Binging

  • Being around toxic people and behavior patterns

  • Ignoring myself

  • Overbooking my schedule

  • Being around too much noise for too long

  • Going to bed too late

  • Allowing others to manipulate me

  • Eating crap

  • Ignoring my healthy boundary

  • Bailing on/ignoring my emotions

  • Staying on social media for too long

Are you running on empty?

What are things you do that make you feel full? Examine what things you do that make you feel empty? The first step to changing your situation is to change your sitaution. One moment at a time!

(For more encouragement to be “BLESSED” and not “BUSY” – check out Steph’s newest book The Blessed Juggle From Cray to Okay in 30 Days! The book can be purchased by clicking here.


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