My furnace went out over the winter. Thankfully, a friend let us borrow several space heaters until the HVAC guy could get the part needed to fix the unit. I plugged in the heaters in 2 of the upstairs bedrooms. I immediately learned that the builders of our home had put both outlets on the same breaker and the heaters went off, along with a television and lamp.
I’m not an electrician and I’m sure there is a very logical explanation for why these plugs share a breaker, but needless to say we were out of luck running both at the same time under the present arrangement. Thankfully the breaker worked like it was supposed to and “tripped” before any major damage was done to our home.
My wife was pretty frustrated at the electricians in that moment. I was a little more grace filled, because I do the same thing…not with electricity, but with my energy and calendar. I think I’m the worlds worst at continuing to plug things into my calendar. I say “yes” too much. I take on too many projects. My people-pleasing nature makes it nearly impossible to let people down. So I just keep going…and going…and going.
Not all of the things are bad. I’m studying for my upcoming Sunday sermon. I’m calling people who are in need. I’m counseling hurting people. I‘m coaching my kids’ sports teams. I’m dating my wife. When I’m not working I’m dreaming about ways to do my job better. When I’m not dreaming I’m reading the latest book, blog or tweet about how to be a better leader, husband, pastor, etc.
I know I’m not alone. I talk regularly to people who live in this constant state of plugging in. You and I know this isn’t healthy, and it’s not sustainable. The question is: Do I have a breaker to be “tripped” before major damage is done? Do you have anyone in your life who has permission to tell you to stop/slow down/unplug? Do you listen to them or make excuses about how “it has to be done” or “it will slow down soon”?
When was the last time you unplugged from technology? Turned your phone off? Went 48 hours without checking email? Social media?
The reality is I could have reset the breaker and plugged in the heaters in both rooms, but it would have “tripped” the breaker again. I had to make an adjustment. I had to run an extension cord to another room for one of the heaters. I had to spread out the things that needed electricity.
Most of the things you do are great, but you may need to adjust. Spread them out. That may mean finding someone else to do some of the things you’re doing. It may mean just scheduling better so everything doesn’t hit at the same time.
Whatever the fix is for you, make the adjustment.
I just “tripped” your breaker. Go unplug something!