A few weeks ago I spent a day volunteering with a national non-profit known for doing amazing things for kids and communities. Because of the way the volunteers were organized, I ended up in a group that – other than me – only had employees of the organization.
Just a few minutes earlier, one of these employees had been revving up all the volunteers – getting them to cheer for progress made, getting them to talk to one another and start to build connections, getting people excited about what they were doing for the day. But in the group of just employees, the tone was different. Everyone was quiet. When someone asked a question, the answer was delivered with vague annoyance. There was even a little sighing and eye-rolling.
I had become invisible to the employees, they didn’t realize I was watching their interaction. I was surprised to see the difference between the way they treated the volunteers and the way they treated each other.
Their service events are high-energy and high-pressure, so it’s understandable that they can’t keep that up all the time; and I only spent a few hours with them, so I’m not saying their behavior was representative of the entire organization. But it really got me thinking about how we treat the people closest to us.
I know sometimes I have spent so much energy being friendly with clients that I’m short-tempered with my teammates. Or I’m so tired from spending extra hours with colleagues at work, that I have little energy left to be gracious with my family.
I’m trying to figure out how to structure my day so that I can give my best energy to the people who matter the most to me.
For me, it starts with connecting to my life source. As John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” When I detach myself from the vine by not spending time in the Bible, or not investing in prayer, my priorities get out of whack. I get sidetracked on the ‘urgent but unimportant’ and fail to make sure the really important people in my life are given the attention they need and deserve.
How do you ensure the people most important to you receive your best energy?