Running on empty
I had (hopefully) a once in a lifetime experience this week. I left my house for work about 10 minutes earlier than usual, hoping to get there early so I could lean the seat back and take a power nap before I went in. I do that pretty regularly.
While driving down Mopac in rush hour it was the typical stop and go flow of traffic. I was on the phone with my mom and stopped behind a long line of cars in the center lane. As the cars slowly started to accelerate again I went to push on the gas, and to my surprise started rolling backwards. The car behind me immediately began honking as I’m sure I was just inches from rolling into their car. I slammed on the brake and turned on my hazards. It didn’t take me but a second to realize I was out of gas! Hints the “hopefully” once in a lifetime experience.
For anyone like me, having to put your hazards on is the ultimate sign of defeat. I hate it! You stick out like a sore thumb, and every passerby knows you have issues. For some reason I always take it so personally and wish I could just roll down the window and justify myself to everyone. I am responsible, I do get my oil changed regularly, I am a good person! Even though I bet no one that passed me even remembered 2 minutes later that someone back there in all that traffic was sitting with their hazards on.
I did what any woman would do and immediately called my husband to bring me gas. In the meanwhile I of course texted most my girlfriends to notify them my life was over. Here I am a young girl driving alone in the MIDDLE lane of Mopac in rush hour with a car that won’t move. How could I get my car to the shoulder alone? Impossible!
About 10 minutes in to watching out of the corner of my eye angry/irritated drivers scoot around me and drive past, a huge truck pulls up behind me. Out walks a very sweet gentlemen who offers to push my car over to the side of the highway. We are talking 2 lanes of rush hour traffic. There. Is. No. Way! Not to mention it would be extremely dangerous. I told him I would rather get my car hit than have him get hurt, so then he just offered to sit behind me and risk get his truck getting hit first, until my husband arrived.
Finally with the help of a constable that arrived on the scene we were able to stop traffic and get my car over to the shoulder, Ian arrived a few shorts minutes later gas in hand.
That was a long story…I bet you’re thinking “why do we care?” Here is the deal, I was able to draw a lot of conclusions that day about our spiritual walks. You see our faith is just like a car, we have to treat it right, take care of it to get the most out of it. We frequently do major check-ups by consulting mechanics (elders, mentor, wise council, our parents) and we regularly keep our cars filled up with gas
(anything that fuels a relationship with God). Is not our spiritual walk the same in so many ways? In Ephesians 3:19 Paul prays that they would be filled with the fullness of God. There is nothing more we need than that to keep our spiritual engines running strong.
So imagine your faith is a car, fueled by spending time in God’s word, time in prayer hearing his voice and talking with him, time in discipleship, time serving others. With any of these things lacking we can begin to see the fuel gauge of our faith quickly go down. Sometimes in my case the gauge goes all the way to empty without us even noticing.
What did I do when my fuel gage said empty? I immediately turned on my flashers to alert people things were not okay. It was embarrassing and some people scowled as they drove by, but for those who cared they were able to see my need and meet it. You may not be someone whose spiritual gauge says empty and has their hazard lights on alerting other believers for help, but you may pass by those people. We can scoot around them with judgment wondering how they could have let their faith run dry, or we can stop to assist and stand in the gap for that person.
After turning on my hazards I called my husband to bring me gas. Who is a person in your life that pushes you to fill your spiritual gas tank? Gives you words of wisdom, prays with you, encourages you to get involved in community? Spiritually speaking this is my friend Hannah, she is on call 24/7 to keep me on the straight and narrow and help me find ways to fuel my tank when the spiritual gauge is getting low. We need people in our lives like this!
I know this analogy seems really silly, but it is so simple and so applicable to all of our lives. Is your spiritual gauge saying full or empty? And how can you guarantee it doesn’t run dry? Is there any one with their hazards on you can stop to help instead of passing judgement? Who in your life can you call on when you spiritual fuel gauge is low and you need help getting moving again?
The truth is my spiritual fuel gauge has been running a little low, and it took me sitting in embarrassment in the middle of Mopac during rush hour to realize this. I haven’t been spending as much time getting to know the Lord as I would like, or hiding his word in my heart, or serving others as much as I could. How thankful I am to have people in my life who encourage me to fill up on Jesus, and not to lose sight of checking my gauge to make sure I don’t get emptied.
Whether we are the ones with the empty spiritual fuel gauge or passing by someone whose is let us pray this for each other and ourselves.
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and height”to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19