I will be the first to admit that I have a bad habit of flirting with the empty line on the gas tank in my car.
Some people do not let their tank go below a quarter tank left before they fill it up. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people.
I have pulled into the gas station parking lot more times than I would like to admit on a prayer and with less than 5 miles to the gallon to go.
It’s a terrible habit, I know. I am trying to get better. I see my gas light come on. I acknowledge the orange light, but I choose to ignore it until the last possible moment.
There have been several moments in my own life where I have done this. I can see the warning signs that I am about to be on empty, whether it’s physically, spiritually, or emotionally.
I start to feel like I am running on fumes, and my patience starts to wear thin, but I ignore the warning signs and keep on pushing.
We let the gas tank get so low that we start to see how it affects our everyday lives. We feel like we have nothing left to give. Our tank has run dry, and we are just sputtering down the road, trying to get by.
In these moments when the tempers flare, words are said that we wish we could take back, or we just shut down completely. We see the warning lights, but for whatever reason, we ignore them.
Often, we are not truly honest with ourselves about how much we have left to give.
Check the Gas Gauge
Are you paying attention to the signs that you are running low on energy? Do you take an honest inventory of how you are doing on an emotional, physical, or spiritual level? Check your personal gas gauge.
Here are a few questions that I ask myself when I feel like I am running out of steam.
- How am I feeling spiritually? How often am I reading scripture, meditating on God’s word, or casting my troubles to God?
- What is taking the most of my energy?
- What am I holding onto that is bringing me anxiety and worry?
- What can I delegate at home or at work to lift some of the burdens?
- Have I talked to someone about feeling burnt out, or am I holding it all in?
Once we acknowledge that we are starting to run on empty and take an honest inventory of what is draining us, then we can take action.
Taking Time for Self-Care – Fill Up the Tank
How do we get filled back up? I know everyone is different, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but a few things that fill me back up are:
Resting in God’s Word
I find myself at peace and energized most when I am either reading scripture or spending time with God in prayer and worship. God wants us to find rest in Him and tells us to bring our burdens to Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
Taking Time for Yourself
My husband is very good at encouraging me to take time for myself and go do something that I enjoy when I am feeling burnt out or needing to be refueled. This could be going for a walk, running, painting, shopping, or reading a book.
Don’t forget to take some time to do what brings you joy and fills you back up.
It is easy for us to be so consumed with what is going on in our day-to-day lives that we ignore the warning light flashing that we are approaching empty.
Don’t be like me, pulling into the gas station with a few miles left and on a prayer. When you feel like your tank is starting to get low, take care of yourself and fill it back up before you feel like you are helpless, stranded on the side of the road.
Even in those desperate moments, God is always there to fill us back up and bring us peace, as His mercies are new every morning.