Maybe you're the type of driver who tops off your gas tank when it gets down to half full.
Yeah. I kind of hate you for that.
KIDDING! Actually, I wish I was like you. And you know I love you!
I always think I should "run just one more" errand before I fill up....meanwhile, the needle gets closer and closer to the "E" and my stress level goes up as I watch it get down to the fumes. How can I be "too busy" to stop for gas? Seems silly. Possibly even foolhardy.
And yet I do it anyway.
It would actually take me LESS time to fill up when I'm on 1/2, and it would eliminate so much unnecessary stress. I wouldn't run the risk of running out of gas in the middle of the freeway, and ending up in a dangerous situation, like getting mugged or hit by another car, or stuck in some unsavory part of town.
Let's just say, I'm trying to be more proactive with my gas tank level.
My gas needle reminds me of how I've often approached life. I especially think of the years when my kids were in high school and middle school, and wonder how I did not break down more than I did - because I regularly ran on empty. I was always on fumes. Engine knocking. Hands sweating.
My emotional storehouse was depleted.
My bank account was drained.
My spiritual life barely had a pulse.
The laundry was never done.
I was physically exhausted.
Mentally shut down.
Those were some good times, man.
It seemed like there was always something urgent that needed my attention, which prevented me from filling up my emotional, physical and spiritual tank on a regular basis.
Why, no. I can't read a book FOR PLEASURE, are you kidding? Who has time for that?
I really can't go out for coffee with my friend. I'm too behind on chores.
I'd love to take an art class, but it's scheduled right during my son's hockey practice.
We can't afford a "date night," let alone a "vacation." (those are finger quotes)
I don't have time to do something just for myself: paint a dresser, do my nails, get my hair done.
Bible study will have to wait until tomorrow.
Eat healthy? Too much work. All that vegetable chopping, ugh.
As a result, I had very little to give to others, or to offer the world around me. I sorta got lost in there. I had a hard time breathing. I kept waiting for someone to come along and fix everything and make it better.
But that never happened.
What I've come to realize is that no one can fill my personal tank for me. No one else can fix my schedule, lighten my load or carry my burdens in order to take care of me. At least not long term.
I need to take responsibility for investing in myself.
I need to do what is necessary for replenishing my energy. Revitalizing my soul. Running on a full tank. Heck, sometimes I'd take a half a tank, how about you?
I - WE - need to realize that we are worth the time and resources to get filled....so we can, in turn, have something in reserve to give to others. We must make time to relax. Make time to connect. Create little opportunities to recharge our spirits and nourish our souls. Discover our gifts. Take care of our bodies.
And we can't see these things as luxuries, but necessities.
Only then can we be good mamas and sisters and workers and creators. Only then will we be ready when good opportunities come our way, or when God opens a door we've been waiting for.
Listen, I'm not talking about becoming a hedonist. I'm simply talking about valuing who you are enough to take care of the things that matter to you. To not let another day go by without setting some boundaries, shifting priorities and getting healthy inside.
This is part of blooming. It's part of becoming the whole person you are meant to be. And this is the time that we grow up and stop blaming or waiting for others to take care of our tanks. We must choose this. We must choose to put down the donut and pick up the fruit. We must choose to walk when we want to sit. We must choose to stop worrying and start being grateful.
We must choose to stop and fill up, when all the urgent things around us tell us we don't have time, or don't deserve it.
We are worthy of being filled. Of living full.
And it's all because of God's great love. We must choose abundance, and fullness and joy. We must choose hope and faith, perseverance and compassion. We must be kind to ourselves and remember that we are God's beloved children, and He has given us the wisdom we need for ALL of this....if we only take the time to heed it. He cannot use a depleted, spent servant. But imagine what He can do through you when you are physically, mentally and spiritually filled and ready for blessing...and BEING a blessing.
Hey. Maybe you're in a season of extreme busyness and all of this sounds like yet another burden to bear. I've been there. But this is not that. This is my encouragement to you to let some things go, if you can, so that you can get strong and be healthy. I'm serious about this. You and I must pinky promise that we will say "no" to some good things so we can say "yes" to the best things in life. And the best things often come when we least expect them. They are in your daughter's eyes and your best friend's laugh, and the spring breeze, and a scripture that rocks your world. They are in experiences we just might miss when we're too preoccupied with activities that drain us, rather than fill us.
The best things come along when we are clear enough to recognize them, and full enough to share them with the world.
I'm praying for you today. I'm sending grace and love your way.
Fill up, my friend.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I'd love to connect with you.
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