“Your gas tank was on empty,” my husband said as he came in through the garage and shrugged off his coat.
“Oh…yeah….sorry about that…again,” I replied with a guilty look on my face.
He flashed me a knowing smirk. After nearly fourteen years of marriage, he’s come to accept that every time he drives my car the gas gauge needle will be resting on “E.”
It’s probably a good thing there is a gas station within walking distance from my home! One day the car is bound to refuse to start on fumes. It’s such a bad habit, running on empty.
The scene happens nearly weekly, I’ll be driving along, trying to keep my focus on the road. Two kids are squabbling in the back, or drowning out the radio with their own made up songs. I look down and the orange light flashes its warning. If I stop now, I’ll be late. If I run out of gas, I’ll be really late. Five miles to go. I’ll get gas on the way home. But I’m so busy going and doing that I forget to fill up. Unfortunately, this happens with more than just my gas tank.
I learned the lesson of staying properly fueled the hard way while training for my first full marathon. As my long runs gradually crept into the double digits, my husband, a seasoned runner, warned me that I can’t run on empty like I do with my gas tank. He threw packs of vaseline-like power gel on the table. “You’ll need these. Trust me. You’ll use up all of your energy and your body will refuse to keep going.”
Dutifully, I stuffed a couple in my pocket. Ten miles in, I learned firsthand what he meant as my legs shut down. I gagged down the thick goo and waited for the sugary electrolytes to work their magic. My internal needle rose back to full and I resumed running.
Soon, I learned how to stay fueled. I’d slurp the goo even when I didn’t think I needed it in order to prevent the shaky shutdown. I learned my body’s rhythm and ran the marathon without a single drop in energy. I finished feeling well.
It’s less obvious to see when our soul and spirit are running on empty. That nasty habit of going and doing clouds my ability to see that I am depleted. Served out. Given dry. The orange “E” needle shows up in tiredness, curtness with family, general irritation, sleeplessness, jealousy, resentment, and a “woe is me” syndrome. I moan,”Look how much I have done, and no one cares.” I’m like Martha standing in the kitchen pleading with her Lord, “Make my sister help me!” Yet, He gently prods her that while she was so focused on fueling her guests, she had forgotten to re-fill her own soul.
Fueling takes time. Ripping open a gooey packet. Stopping at a gas station. Quiet moments of solitude with the Spirit and the Word. Not doing so takes more time. Coming to a complete stop to re-gain your energy. Walking to a gas station with a red can in hand. A spirit too weary give or receive love.
Did you take time to re-fuel today? Are you showing signs of running on empty? Take time to rest and fill your spirit with the sustenance of God’s Word.
By Amelia Rhodes Stories for Us