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Six Marbles a Day

     Several years ago, my good friend Alyson, told me of a book she was reading at the time that explained an important concept about personal capacity in a fun way. The idea was that we all have a bag of six marbles a day. She went on to explain that for every major interaction, especially negative ones, we would use up one of our marbles.

     The goal was not to use up your marbles too soon and pace yourself throughout the day, so that you don’t “loose all your marbles,” as the old saying goes.

     I put that concept into place in my life immediately and it has “saved the day,” on many occasions. I learned that certain negative interactions, like calling the insurance company to dispute a claim, getting a phone call that my son had wrecked someone’s car, or missing a payment deadline on an important bill could certainly take more than their share of my marbles. On those days, I had to expect less from myself and those around me, because I had barely enough marbles to make it through the day.

     During certain challenging season’s of my life, like being up in the middle of the night with a nursing newborn, or caring for a child with the croup in the wee hours of the morning, or potty training a resistant toddler, could in fact have me starting my day with less than the expected amount of marbles. I had to recognize that I was already in a deficit and plan accordingly.

     During these times, I had to extremely limit my additional activities to only those things that would rejuvenate me and not drain me. I would guard my last few marbles of the day with a careful eye and not allow any unnecessary interactions, phone calls, or demands take what was left—because I knew I still had to make it through dinner and getting the children for bed.

     I also learned that some nice things planned intentionally, could actually increase my supply of marbles. Quiet meditation time on the Word of God was certainly a boost to my spirit and outlook. A quick nap during my downtime in the afternoon of a busy day, where I had to be “on” in the morning and the evening could prove refreshing! Talking to someone who was cheerful and positive could also do the trick. I had to manage my capacity like I would a bank account and not use up more than I had.

     So, the next time you’re feeling a little “out of sorts,” for the day, ask yourself, “Who took my marbles?” And evaluate and recalibrate things from there!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Debbie Reynolds Harper

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