I always thought it was a silly illustration to use a bank as a way of saying where we are at emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Making deposits and withdrawals seems like such an odd way to judge oneself. I first discovered this illustration in college and didn’t think too highly of it. Now that I’ve lived a bit longer, I can start relating more and more the banking metaphor. Back when I first started out this path to ministry, I had a lot more energy. I thought I would be one of those people who would be at the church anytime the doors where open. I didn’t understand balance. All I understood was dedication. Being dedicated is good, but we all have our limits. As a young student, I couldn’t fully grasp the concept of sustainable ministry. I assumed burn out was impossible when you’re working for God.
Now have I’ve been in full time for the last five years, I can see how we must keep things in balance. Just like a checkbook, if I’m giving myself to others and to ministry, I must also be depositing into myself. I’m not an endless supply of energy (though I sometimes wish I was). I’ve learned that some relationships are investments. They take work and don’t pay off over night. I’ve learned that when I’m making major withdrawals for the sake of others, I need to make be making major deposits, so the bank doesn’t run dry. No one like to dip into the red.
We all have different things that add resources back into our banks. For some it is hiking, cooking, crafting, etc. We know the tasks that make us feel good and give us that new round of energy to tackle life. I am an avid reader. Reading a good book inspires me and bring so much energy to my soul. I view a good book almost as dearly as a close friend. Now as a woman in ministry, I read a lot of books about leadership and how to grow and develop spirituality so I can be the best person possible. These books are great, but sometimes I just need something else to fill the bank.
Last summer I re-read my favorite book series that I read as a teenager. The characters have always meant a great deal to me and it was almost like a reunion and reconnection with myself and with the things I love. Over the last month, I have read the Anne of Green Gables novel series. While these books might not be solving world peace , they made me laugh and they made me cry. They were perfect escapes into another time and another place. Sometimes I’m tired of walking in my own shoes. I thrill at the chance to slip into a book and see the world from someone else’s perspective.
Now I love doing book reviews and I thought about reviewing the Anne books and posting them here on my blog. For a while I really debated this idea, because I thought it was silly. I pondered the purpose of reviewing a book series that had nothing to do with ministry. So here is a my review in a roundabout kind of way – I loved these books because they took me away from Lewis County, WA for a while. I knew that I needed to invest in my bank account before I ran dry and went into the red.
My challenge to you is – how is your checkbook balancing? Are you are withdrawing more than you are depositing? Is your checkbook close to going into the red? We are different and have our own things that spark our interest. I have learned to put aside my pride of looking like I’m always reading for a divine purpose and I have opened myself to things that make me happy – even they seem childish. The simple things in life and the things we have loved since we were a kid are often the ones that fill us up the most. Don’t put off reading that book or doing that project or planning that hike. Choose to invest in yourself – not selfishly, but with the intent of refilling the bank so you can freely give to others.