Words of Hope: Energy Crisis

Dad and I often discussed energy. Navigating cancer requires tremendous energy expenditures, which results in less energy for other aspects of life. I would email Dad sometimes and he would respond, “Beloved daughter, I want to have energy for this, but I do not. Can you see to it yourself?” I could see the toll cancer extracted from both Dad and Mom. Cancer creates an energy crisis. Watching this, I become more aware of other ways I fall into energy crises. In difficulty, I can demand too much energy and be an overfunctioner. I do this by getting out of my lane and encroaching on the responsibilities of others. I say yes when I should not. I mettle. An overfunctioner expends too much energy and is easily burnt out, bitter, and micromanaging or critical of others. I can also be an underfunctioner in areas that I don’t want to deal with. The underfunctioner expends too little energy and becomes apathetic, paralyzed, a burden on the team or family. Sometimes Shann and I take one position depending on the situation. I can overfunction with my kids and underfunction with my self-awareness of flaws. Shann can overfunction with logic and underfunction with emotion. These imbalanced ways of relating cause energy crises to emerge in the home. Not only can our own responses to difficulty create energy crises but outside factors rob us of needed energy.  

I learned so much about the importance of understanding energy through watching Dad with cancer. Cancer diverts energy to itself. It feeds on healthy cells, it requires energy for doctors, medicine, time spent in waiting rooms. It requires mental energy and physical energy. Dad had to be very intentional about how he spent his energy as he battled cancer. He would make sure he had ways to be fueled. In waiting rooms, he would pray, memorize scripture, or make a new friend. I see this importance in my life. I must realize that energy is finite. I need fuel as much as I burn fuel. I must watch out for circumstances that drain my energy even if they seem fun and innocuous. I admire and love that Dad found ways to find inspiration as well as be an inspiration every day even in the energy crisis of cancer. 

“He gives strength to the weak and power to the powerless.” 

– Isaiah 40:29