Friday, November 19, 2010

Leading On Empty - resetting my rhythm

The Lead Pastor and friend at my current church gave me this book during my initial weeks at New Hanover Presbyterian Church.  He saw my intensity and shared the following words of life with me - "Pace yourself."

I remember hearing a sermon years ago by John Piper that emphasized having a marathon-mindset to the Christian life instead of a sprint mindset.  One outcome of my reflections from that sermon was to alter my workouts.  I transitioned them from a sprint mindset to a distance mindset.  I recognized that even my swimming and running workouts revealed my sprint approach to life.  I have always struggled with over-extending myself through strong sprints.

Last night, I finished the book Running On Empty and I received a fresh perspective on my life through this book.  The author did not share any awe-inspiring insights but he effectively pointed me toward what I need to consider on a daily, weekly, ongoing basis.

Here are some thoughts that I recorded from the book after finishing it:

1.     Serotonin and adrenaline
Serotonin is a chemical like an endorphin. It’s a natural, feel-good hormone.  It replenishes during times of rest and then fuels you while are working.  If, however, you continue to drive yourself without replenishing, your store of serotonin will be depleted.  As a substitute, your body will be proceed to replace the serotonin with adrenaline.  The problem is that adrenaline is designed for emergency use only.  It’s like those doors in a restaurant that when opened cause an alarm to sound.  Our problem, though, is that we use these pathways designed for emergency only, but no alarm sounds.  Not at first, anyway. Should you continue to run on adrenaline, it will destroy your system.  You will burn out sooner on the inside than you’re able to see on the outside.  The fuel of adrenaline that keeps your engines running in the beginning will turn on you and destroy you in the end.
pp. 25-26

2.     Solitude is a chosen separation for refining your soul.  Isolation is what you crave when you neglect the first. p. 70

3.     85% of what I do, anyone can do.  10% of what I do, someone with training should be able to accomplish.  5% of what I do, only I can do.

4.     “Low Fuel” light indicators – difficulty with decision making, increasing allures, desire for isolation.

5.     Drink water before you get thirsty – rest before you get tired – overall, proactively fill before you get drained.

6.     Lessons to Consider
  • Do not overproduce
  • Steward your energy
  • Rest well, my friend – consider “sleeping in by going to bed earlier”
  • Exercise your way to recovery
  • Eat your way to a good life
  • Recharge daily
  • Fight for your family
7.     Four Possible Life Courses
  • Life of Reaction
  • Life of Conformity
  • Life of Independence
  • Life of Intentionality
8. The Intentional Life – identify my “gauges” and assess often