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My car’s fuel gauge stopped working several weeks ago. The “low fuel” idiot light is on all the time, and the needle stays below the E no matter how much gas is in the tank. The car runs fine, I just have to pay attention to how many miles I’ve driven between stops at the gas station.
Some of my other gauges need attention, too. Not in my car, but in my body, soul, and spirit.
We have lots of gauges that must be monitored. There’s a sleep gauge, a nutrition gauge, and a hydration gauge in our bodies. For women, there’s a hormonal gauge that requires careful monitoring throughout our lives. Most of those physical gauges come with built-in physical warnings that we can either ignore or attend to. Ignore a gauge long enough and systems will begin to shut down. Mess with a gauge and you might compulsively overeat, or have problems with your sleep cycle.
The “idiot lights” on our soul and spirit gauges are often ignored entirely, especially during busy seasons or times of crisis, because our bodies continue to go through the motions of living long after our souls and spirits are running on fumes. So how do I read those gauges? What are the warning signs that my soul (mind, will, and emotions) and spirit (my connection to God and the eternal realm) are dipping dangerously close to failure?
#1. Physical symptoms that don’t go away after proper rest and nourishment.
– These could include fatigue, insomnia, or unresolved aches and pains. If you’ve gone to the doctor, and he or she can’t come up with a clear-cut diagnosis, it’s time to check some other systems!
#2. Over-, or under-reacting to situations.
-If you’re blowing up over spilled milk, or can’t remember the last time you smiled, your emotional gauge is letting you know you need a refill. What activities stir up your emotions? It might be free-writing in a journal, hiking in the mountains or on the beach, spending time in prayer, watching a silly movie, reading a fluffy novel, or getting a pedicure. Everyone is different. If you are under pressure, or in crisis, it may seem like the most inopportune moment to take time for yourself to do something frivolous, but that foolish activity might just save you from a breakdown.
#3. Feeling disconnected from your purpose for living.
That “floating” feeling we experience from time to time, the one where we ask questions like, “what if this is really all just a dream (or nightmare)?” and “is anything I believe really true?” Is an indicator that your spirit (the eternal part of you) is running on fumes. Spiritual feeding is simple — spending time with your Creator satisfies your spirit. Making the time, and settling yourself down mentally and emotionally long enough to find your spirit and “plug in” through prayer, meditation, worship or whatever, is the real challenge!
#4. “I’m bored!”
– Boredom is an alarm that lets you know you are in need of mental stimulation. Learning something new, applying yourself to a project or hobby, will feed your brain. If all else fails, pick up the dictionary and learn some new words!
#5. Rebelliousness isn’t limited to our teenage years.
– Your will (I think, I want, I feel) will flare up in ugly ways if you start to feel trapped in your circumstances. To maintain a healthy will, you need to remind yourself that while you may not be able to control every situation, you can control your reaction to situations. “I can be happy, even when I don’t get my way.” Just choosing your response is enough to reset, or jumpstart, your will onto the right path.
Check those gauges! Don’t run out of gas on the side of the road of life!