Faith General Identity

Living With Two Tanks

Statistically speaking, 25% of you reading this are introverts. So am I!  The other 75% of you are extroverts who just as much as we introverts need to pause and process what’s to follow.

Your Soul Needs This

God wired us with emotions. Our bandwidths vary based upon a host of factors; personality, environment, family of origin, faith. I grew up essentially avoiding emotions because I was sometimes on the receiving end of volatile emotions by others. As a teenager, my room (once I had one) became a haven for my introverted past-times. What I didn’t understand was avoiding my emotions left me more confused, and frankly immature for my age. And yet, emotions are connected to everything we do. 

Two Tanks

In their book, “How We Love”, Milan and Kay Yerkovich, talk about two tanks every person has. The first tank is your fuel tank. It needs “a regular fill-up of words of affirmation and responses from others that invigorate and uplift…The second tank is full of pressure that needs to be released on a regular basis.”  Yerkovichs explain that the more the second tank fills with pressure such as stress, unexpressed feelings, and unresolved issues, the more extreme we act out of our imprint. (Imprint is the way we were raised; how we model handling life.)

Low Fuel Tank and High-Pressure Tank

I’ve come to realize that although there were very good things about my childhood, there were also quirks that left my first tank very low and my second tank very high. I was starved for words of affirmation and validation. I didn’t know that at the time. I just knew that something in me ached while at the same time there was this increasing pressure that needed to be released. Unfortunately, adolescence led to some stupid ways of releasing that pressure, which resulted in bad habits in my twenties. They were cries for help with little attention offered.

You are Not the Only One

Maybe you resonate with my experience. In desperate need of affirmation and validation but none to be found, while the pressure tank of life gets dangerously high.  I recall a time in university when an acquaintance knocked on my apartment door. He had tried to commit suicide and failed. I was the first person he thought of to find help.  His fuel tank was totally exhausted and the pressures of college life were more than he could handle. He had, at the time, no faith in God; agnostic at best. 

Life turned around for my friend. The key turning point was he found faith in Jesus Christ. Honestly, I’ve never seen a guy’s fuel tank fill up so fast!  And, stay filled. A host of factors went into his tank being filled; the same way yours and my tanks need to be filled.

Filling Your Fuel Tank

I recall John Eldredge speaking at a Wild at Heart Men’s Boot Camp in Colorado. “We men were wired by God with two burning questions: Does anyone delight in me? and Do I have what it takes to be a man?”  Tears immediately filled my face. The Lord used John’s words to strike a wound so deep in my soul that out of it gushed decades of immense pressures. What my heart needed since I was a boy was words of affirmation, arms around my shoulder, someone to speak validation into my emerging manhood. I realized that what fuel I had was sustained by God himself. His Spirit carrying me through some rough waters of life. Oh, how grateful I am for His presence! Christ as my foundation. 

Healthy Man to Man Relationships

What I was largely lacking was the human aspect of filling my emotional tank. In particular, men with whom we could both sharpen each other in our treks through manhood. This comes out in why and how I mentor. When I mentor a warrior young man, I want to know how they are wired, what propels them, what fills their emotional fuel tank, and how I can speak into their life. How I can be used by the Lord to fill their tank. It’s that steady diet of being in God’s Word, (God speaking to our souls) so that we have something to offer those we come alongside.  That’s at the core of filling our tank.

Invigorate Your Soul

Of course, added to that are things that invigorate us. My favorite sports are hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, and hammocking!  (Yes, hammocking is part of my invigoration plan!) What’s yours?  Some guys dive deep into fantasy football. Others love a good book. I know of warrior-aged men that love to paint miniature figurines from the Lord of the Rings. They imagine fierce battles and adventures as they color them to life.

The mind is imaging a fierce battle in the Lord of the Rings

Relieving the Pressure Tank

When I’m finished using my air compressor, I reach down and open the pressure-relief valve. The sound of highly compressed air swishes for several minutes until all of the pressure in the tank is gone. If a man doesn’t have healthy ways to relieve pressure, he will explode. The damage will be harder to repair. Some guys develop bad pressure-relieving habits. They act out sexually.  Why do you think pornography is such an addiction? Others get drunk and/or use drugs.  The Australian music group Hollow Coves has a song “From the Second Floor”.  It’s about a young man who tried to numb his pain through drugs and alcohol.  

Hollow Coves- See link above

Better Ways to Relieve the Pressure

Factoring in that we are made up of a body, mind, and soul, we need to be sure that how we let off steam is constructive instead of destructive. If I feel tense, a workout at the gym helps me relax. I feel my muscles calm down. If I’ve had a hard day at work “architect-ing”, I find a time of thinking through non-technical things helps.  My Spotify playlist of Liked Songs helps. Giving my thoughts to the Lord and texting a friend for prayer helps me re-focus my soul. Journaling helps me process. So does a bike ride. What helps me most of all is processing with my wife or a friend who is safe. Someone who will listen to my heart and accept me unconditionally, even if they do not agree with my view of things.

Being Understood

Who understands you? Who validates you? Who puts his arm on your shoulder, pulls you close, and speaks words of affirmation into your life? Wanting such is not a sign of weakness, but strength. And, as your tank is filled and you learn healthy ways to relieve pressure, you can be that person to someone else who is desperately needing their tank filled.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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