Monday, June 20, 2011


“You can’t recharge by going away and doing nothing. Some way, some how you must plug into something.”
~Marilyn vos Savant

Marilyn Vos Savant writes a weekly column for ParadeMagazine (Sunday insert in many newspapers). About ten years ago, she had the above quote in one of her articles. I cut out the quote and tucked it away because it resonates so strongly with me.

Personal renewal must be one of the intentional choices that we make in life. When we go non-stop for an extended period of time (as we all do), there is a subtle chipping away at our inner being. Scheduling these times of personal renewal are essential for intentional living.

Here are three criteria to remember when thinking about those times of renewal: 

Renewal is personal 
Each of us has, what I like to call, a Renewal DNA. What is renewal for one person might be the exact opposite for another. We recharge in different ways. Spouses particularly need to understand this idea and consciously choose to support each others' personal renewal times. 

Renewal typically involves action 
Most of the time, renewal is an action activity. By “plugging into something” we are involved: exercise, reading a book, relationship building, etc. 

Renewal times vary 
One renewal activity might last five minutes and another might last a full day. We need all types of renewal.

We all recharge (or “Sharpen the Saw”) in different ways. Are you aware of how you recharge? Below is a quick activity to help you develop a list of activities that are ready to be used when you need a time of renewal. 

Step 1: Think about those activities that leave you refreshed and renewed. Take a couple of minutes and list (without judgment) any activity that comes to mind. 

Step 2: Take one minute to review the list, and place one of the following letters beside each activity:
  • S – if the activity typically takes less than 30 minutes to complete
  • M – if the activity typically takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours 
  • L – if the activity takes longer than 2 hours 
Step 3: Create a final list, grouping the renewal activities into the three categories.
Step 4: Schedule a weekly renewal activity. 
We need daily renewal (prayer time, exercise, etc), but we should all intentionally schedule a weekly renewal time. Do that now.

Below is the list that I generated after my brainstorming session:

Prayer/Devotional time
Connection with extended family by phone
Creative work
Listening to music
Cleaning up/organizing

Listening to a sermon
Listening to a motivational or inspirational speaker (video or CD)
Date with my wife
Watch a movie

Attend a conference
Vacation with my wife

Renewal is such an important part of living an intentional life. Be conscious about scheduling renewal activities. If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of those you love?

Question: What is your favorite renewal activity? Please leave comments below.


TNeal said...


You give sound advice and offer examples that make your point clear. Well written. Both practical and helpful.


Jason said...

Thanks for the comment. Thanks for linking over from Michael Hyatt's blog. He is awesome!

Anonymous said...

My renewal activity of choice is A good read outside. Just a good fiction novel to wonder away in for a while and let the imagination take over.

Steven said...

Hey Jason,

Great little exercise. I think it is so important that we identify activities that we can do throughout our day which helps us "renew" ourselves."

Some people try to push through the resistance instead of adapting to it, and thus taking the time to relax, spend leisure time, and enjoy a little solitude.

I think we all need to know how to create that space in our lives.

Jason said...

I think sometimes that we just become so busy that we forget to stop and renew ourselves. We have to be conscious about renewal.