Each of us has a unique pattern that recharges us.

I remember the first time I became aware of this.  We were on our way to a family gathering.  The kids were in the car, and my wife Toni and I were just about out of the house.

Seemingly out of the blue, a sense of panic gripped me.  I ran into a small room in our house, closed the door and told Toni, “I can’t go. I just can’t go. Sorry.”

She’d never seen me like this before…nor had I.  I really wasn’t sure what was happening.  She asked me what was going on.  Without thinking, I responded, “It’s people.  I just can’t see another person.  I’m peopled out.”   (I don’t even think that’s a word…but it accurately described how I felt.)

I was as shocked as she was.  This happened on a day off.  We were going to see family whom we loved. Theoretically, I was resting.  But instead of enjoyment, I felt panic.  We talked our way through it and went to the event, but afterward we thought long and hard about what was going on.

Over the years, I’ve discovered some things about my personality.  I’ve learned that not all rest is equally replenishing for me. I love time with family.  I love our friends.  I love just hanging around the house, even for vacation.  But I’ve learned this: as much as I like all those things, my body and soul are best replenished when I do one particular thing.  l am most alive, most rested and most relaxed when Toni, Jordan, Sam and I vacation in a spot where we don’t know anyone and no one knows us. Nothing I’ve experienced gives me a deeper emotional, relational and physical rest than that. Not sure why that’s true; it’s just true.

When you discover something like that, you can do three things:  ignore it, fight it, or co-operate with it.  I chose the latter.  We still see our friends and family and even hang out around the house regularly. But at least once a year, we get away somewhere together.  That’s when my deepest rest and refueling happens.  Then I have more to give to everyone when I get back, and my family gets the best of me, both while we are away and when we’re back.

My point is this: All of us have a unique way of resting and refueling: do you know your pattern? If not, why not spend a couple minutes reflecting on the last five years.  Ask yourself:

When was I most rested?

When did I feel most alive?

When did I feel most replenished?

Your answer to those questions might give you a clue as to how you refuel. If you can’t answer this yet, keep careful notes moving forward. My guess is you soon will discover how you recharge.

Then (don’t miss this), schedule time in the next month (even half a day) to recharge the way you best find rest. And book your vacation next year around that pattern.

How do you rest best?  How did you discover this?