“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 UsLeave a Comment
Susie Finkbeiner says
I can totally relate!
Great reminder and great post!
We’re running this life together Susie, and you definitely help keep me filled up. Thank you!
Running on E says
[…] Read the rest of the story on the (in)courage blog here! […]
Danelle Townsend says
I love this Amelia!
I see the image of my Spirit on empty and needing to walk with a red gas can in hand for many miles to reach the station. . . when all I needed to do is to renew my Spirit every morning by taking time to really be with Him in prayer and thanksgiving.
Make the stop before I have to walk, weary and beaten.
His present day manna is our peace everyday. . we just need to take time to be with Him. .
Love to you!
Thank you! So true, if we would just stop to refill each morning – strength for each day is all we need and He’s waiting to provide it for us.
this was just what i needed to hear this morning. yesterday i was definitely running on empty, and i don’t want to keep going that way today. thank you for sharing these words!
Jess I hope you were filled to the brim today!
Oh how I run on E…too often. Empty on gas, faith and patience. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.
Thank you for reading, Jeri. This is something God has been calling to me about. We are so busy these days and I can get too task oriented to stop and wait on the Lord.
So true! Running on empty so creeps up on me – especially when I’m with my family, If I don’t get enough sleep, eat right, or have alone time with God, then my tank is dry and fumes won’t even help. Thanks for such a great reminder, Amelia! Awesome post!
Oh Susan, I understand! Sleep and food and alone time can be so hard to find with the constancy of families. Yet, for our sake and theirs, it’s so important that we take care of our own body & soul’s fueling.
Janis@Open My Ears Lord says
Great analogy! I do this too often, and don’t stop until the car (or my body) can’t go any longer. Then I finally, refuel. Learning to pace myself needs to be my goal both physically and spiritually!
Thanks for the reminder.
It’s such a challenge, but learning that pace of life and soul that can be sustained for the long term is so rewarding!
Seek Him first for Daily Bread! Such a great reminder!
And, I’m a runner and appreciate the analogy with running on E…
It’s amazing how much running has taught me about my life with God. I understand those passages in the Bible about running the race so much better now too!