The movie theatres and bookshops are full of vampires right now; bloodsuckers seem to be flavouring many of the current trends. As you may have guessed, I haven’t wasted any of my precious headspace checking them out, but this blood stained obsession for whatever darkness can breed in our collective imagination has made me realise how many vampirical types I do know, up close and personal. I’ve spent hours and days and years with many of them and have suffered heavy personal losses as a result. Their capacity to suck their victim dry is legendary, especially when they have people of vision and purpose as their prey.

I’m referring to that special category of people and things that have a terrifying ability to leave even the most motivated, courageous and spiritually aware people empty, dry and enervated. I’m talking about…

…Energy Vampires….

Do you know any of them? Can you put a face to the name? Are they lurking in your home or church or friendship group? Do they take up vast amounts of your time, leaving you drained of energy and devoid of motivation when they finally let go?

Let’s face it; we all have them in our lives. Their disguises are ingenious to say the least. They appear as friends, colleagues, family, people who need our help…OR as inanimate objects sitting innocently in the corner of our living rooms eager to entertain us, or perched comfortably on our laps taking the focus of our attention (understand me right – laptops, not children).

Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life.

How do they so effectively rob us of our potency? What allows ordinary conversations and actions to turn into such a profound loss of energy and hope?

Let’s name the king bloodthirsty vampire for what it is…

…negativity….

It drains the life out of us, and along with that life goes our hope, our vision, our faith… leaving us with deflated dreams and empty ideals.

How can we defend ourselves? What are the strategies for walking free of negativity and hopelessness?

First, check out the people you relate with. How do you feel when you leave their company? Do you feel like you can take on the world and change it, or do you feel as though there’s no point in even trying because nothing you do will work anyway. If it’s the latter, you’ve just been sucked by an energy vampire. If you don’t attend to the wound immediately, all that vision will leak away before you have a chance to implement it.

Some friends are not helpful, and that’s the truth of it. Sometimes you just need to call it what it is and walk away; that relationship isn’t doing you any good. But if it’s your family, your colleague, someone you can’t get away from, you need to be vigilant to learn how to protect your heart, like the Scripture says.

When the angel told Mary she was having Jesus, the Bible says ‘she hid these things in her heart.’ That’s because she needed time for the new season in her life to become tangible before she could allow others to know about it. She knew her call would come under attack, and she needed time and prayer to build up strength for what was ahead. Sometimes the only way to do that is to not discuss your vision until it’s strong enough to withstand the negativity of those who don’t understand.

Praying makes a big difference. Before you meet the person who habitually rubbishes everything you’re going to say, take authority over negativity in Jesus’ name and speak the life of Christ into your conversations. After you leave them, ask the Lord to cleanse you with the blood of Jesus from every piece of negativity so it can’t stick to you and spoil your heart. Try it; you’ll feel the difference.

It’s worth asking yourself the question: are you an energy vampire? What’s your own conversation like, to yourself and others? Is it constant complaint and repetition of the woes and wrongs you suffer? Is it full of fear for the future? Listen, the only thing worse than being sucked on by an energy vampire is being the sucker yourself! Don’t do it! Get out of the habit. Ask God to help you walk free; choose to give thanks in everything, and look to the Lord to give you strategies for breakthrough despite your losses you’ve suffered or are afraid of suffering. He’s willing if you are, but it takes intentional decisions at every point of choice.

Other types of energy vampire tend to be inanimate; addiction to TV, Facebook, electronic games, and whatever else we find to do that saps energy without giving anything back. It’s amazing to me how a night of resting in front of the TV makes me feel even more tired and unmotivated than I was before I sat down. More marriages lose themselves in lack of engagement with each other than any of us could ever know.

We all have a destiny and we’re called to fulfil it, but that takes time and energy. I wonder how many people have finished their life and gone to heaven still half full; their vision and call unfinished, unused, unfulfilled, all because they were put off by negativity, their own and that of others.

How many ministries and great works remain unstarted or half finished because of energy vampires?

Don’t be one, and don’t allow someone or something to do it to you either. The days of our life are like currency. Once spent, they can’t be spent again. We only get one shot at this; make it a good one.