Running on Empty



My father taught me well. “Always keep your tank full. Do not let it drop below half-way.” He was helpful to point out that having the fuel drop below a half tank increases your risk of running out of gas. As a father, I imagine he was hoping to prevent inconvenience and avoid dangerous scenarios for his daughter. He also knew that letting the tank go empty was hard on the car and could damage the fuel pump.

My father taught me well, however, I wish I could say I always followed his advice. I cannot tell you how many times my husband has gotten in the car to find the fuel light on and 4 miles left till empty. Several times I have coasted into the service station on fumes and a prayer.

A few days ago, I’m proud to say, I found myself filling up the car when it had a half a tank of gas in it! I was shocked at how quick it was to fill a tank that is already half-full. I smiled at my adult-ness. It was an event! I even wrote about it on my adventure group on Facebook. (This is a group I belong to that challenges us to pick  a new adventure daily to get out of our comfort zones–and mine involved fueling the car!)

As I was proudly filling up my tank I had the thought: what is the equivalent of a fuel light in our lives? Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually? How do we know when we are running low?  How many times have we been completely empty in any of these categories?

I know I have before! Exhaustion, illness, adrenal fatigue, break down…you name it!

I have learned my lesson and now guard my reserves. I make specific efforts to refill my tank in each of these categories. I cannot operate on empty in any of them and expect to be able to do what I need to do for my family.

Unfortunately, too many of us are waiting for the warning light–or worse–before we pay attention to our needs. It isn’t just inconvenient to wait for these signals; this is dangerous and damaging.

Just like my fill-up, if we take care of ourselves before we are depleted it doesn’t take much time or effort. Trying to recover after being depleted, or running on fumes, is far more difficult and takes much longer.

Find specific things that make it fun to be you: massage, time-outs, a good book, yoga, meditation, prayer….

Discover what it takes for you to fill up Physically, Emotionally, Mentally and Spiritually.

After all, Father knows best.