Photo by Reggie Joiner

This is the season of ambrosia, pumpkin pie and the changing of the leaves. Orange is everywhere. The color is a symbol that nature is preparing to take a break and a needed rest before it starts the cycle of life all over again. It’s a part of the created rhythm of the planet. Everything needs a break. Even you.

Just as sure as creatures will find holes and nests to sleep each day, and just as sure as the week will wind its way to down to a Sabbath, the amber months of autumn will transition to the still of winter. It’s the way creation refuels and revives itself. It’s also God’s signal to every human that we are all wired with a need to recharge.

This is especially true for parents.

Some of you are managing the emotion and tension that comes with parenting teenagers. The kind of drama that can show up at this phase of family life can be draining. Others of you are juggling preschoolers or early elementary-age kids. Your days are marked by their total dependence on you as a parent. It can be overwhelming at times.

There is a tendency for parents to buy into the myth that escaping to refuel is selfish. It just feels inconsiderate and irresponsible. The unselfish truth though, is that making time to put deposits into your emotional, intellectual, relational, or spiritual bank ultimately benefits everyone you love.

Jesus did it. And He was perfect. He was God. But He was also human. And He was smart enough to know that the human side of His nature needed to take a break occasionally. Jesus consistently withdrew from the crowds. Sometimes He would just disappear. Often it was to pray, sometimes to hang out with His close friends, and occasionally just to take a nap on the boat. The point is, even Jesus carved out time to refuel. He recognized the value of making personal deposits in His emotional and spiritual bank account.

Are you the kind of parent who feels guilty if you take a break? Maybe you can keep running for a long time because you have more capacity than most. But just remember, it’s possible to be close to empty and not know it. The question is: “What are you doing daily, or weekly to re-energize your emotional capacity?”

Give us at least one of your best ideas.