Building Bigger Hearts Part 1: Emotional Energy Management 

On Sunday 1st November at our morning services, we started our series Building Bigger Hearts with the topic 'Emotional Energy Management'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.

To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.

Talk Notes and Summary


Has someone ever done something nice for you? It could just have been that time that someone spent some time with you. When they listened to you, when they laughed with you, when they cried with you.
How did it make you feel? For me it gives me a lift, it makes me smile for the rest of the day, it lets me know that someone else cares for me.

There is a story in the Bible called the Good Samaritan. It is about a time when a man was set upon by robbers, beaten and left half dead. The story then tells us that as the man was lying there in desperate need two people saw him and just walked on by. You can read that story by clicking here.

It is hard to imagine what must have been going through that man’s mind at this point but I imagine he was quite desperate and feeling very low. Here he was in an awful situation and yet people wouldn’t help him.
Then something quiet miraculous happens. A Samaritan stops and helps. However they don’t just “help”. They bandage the man up, put him on their donkey and take him to an inn. They then stay with him and in the morning tell the inn keeper that whatever it costs to look after that man they will pay. Quite extraordinary!

First of all what about the impact on the Samaritan? In providing all of this support to this man, both practically and emotionally, I am sure it will have drained him. I am sure it will have taken a bit out of him, and I wonder what he might have done if they following day he saw another person in need. Would he have done the same thing? Or would he have said I simply can’t I’m spent, I’ve nothing to give.

Because that is the crux of this idea of emotional energy management.

It is right that we give out to others and help them when they are in need. However we need to ensure we manage our emotional energy. Just like we manage our money, manage our work life balance, we need to manage our emotional energy.
A good way to think about this is to think about your emotional energy like a fuel gauge in a car. When we give out to people it uses up some of our “fuel”. Clearly if we did something like the Samaritan it would use up quite a bit quite quickly. But whenever we give out part of our fuel will go.

So we must ensure we are on the lookout for when we can feel we are empty so that we can ensure we then take steps to fill the tank back up. It may be that you need just take some time out to yourself and do something you love doing. For me that would usually involve something sporty. Maybe watching some sport on the TV or playing a few holes of golf, but I am sure you can think of the things you love doing. It is not being selfish when you do this, it is the right thing to do to refuel the emotional energy tank.

It may also be that you need to accept the help that other people are offering. As I was preparing the talk for this week I did think I wonder what would have happened if the man lying there had simply refused the Samaritan’s help?
Now you may think that would simply have been madness, why on earth would he have refused. Well maybe he was thinking others have walked past me just leave me alone. Maybe he was cynical about why the Samaritan wanted to help. Maybe a bit of pride was getting in the way, leave me alone I can do this on my own. But I am sure that by not accepting the help it would have kept his “tank” low on fuel and I think at times we can be like this, I know I can be.

We need to be more open to accepting the help others offer.

What about the impact on the Samaritan if the guy had refused the help that they offered? At times by refusing the help we can, quite inadvertently, have a negative impact on the person offering the help.

A lady had written in to a newspaper to say thank you to the person who had given her 20p to pay for some car parking. Now 20p seems like quite an insignificant sum of money, so why did this lady feel the need to write to a newspaper to say thank you?
That 20p enabled her to park in a hospital car park and see her Dad before unfortunately he passed away.

Small pieces of help can make a huge difference!

Questions and Reflections (to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)

1 Picture your emotional energy as a fuel tank, where would you say you are right now on that fuel gauge?

2 If you feel you are running on empty what can you do to build that fuel back up?

3 What adds fuel to your tank?

4 As part of this do you need to accept the help that others are offering you?

5 If you have a full fuel tank, what are you going to do with it?

6 How can you use it to help others?
Stephen Nower, 03/11/2015