Saturday, August 15, 2009

Running Out of Gas

Shortly after getting my driver’s license when I was 16 years old (many moons ago!) my mom sent me to a nearby town to run some errands for her. Before I left home she told me that her car was low on gasoline. She gave me a $50.00 bill (probably all that she had) and told me to be sure to fill up the gas tank before leaving our little Indiana town called Montezuma. She also told me to be sure to bring back the change from the $50.00 bill. Back in those days just $10.00 went a long way when fueling up the gas tank. Times sure change, don’t they?!

Anyway, I jumped in the car (I was always in a hurry!), drove right past the little gas station on the corner in Montezuma…and then past the second one (guess I was just in my “own little world”). I made it all the way to the 4-lane highway before I remembered that I was low on gas (guess I was just as forgetful back then). I was thinking about where I needed to go and what I needed to do. I decided to just keep driving because I knew there was another gas station only a few miles down the highway.

As I drove along the highway a classmate of mine came cruising past me. Troy was one of those boys who always liked to tease me…and everyone else. Not in a mean kind of way. More like in a lovingly, yet constantly irritating kind of way. J As he drove by, he pointed and laughed…having no idea about my gasoline woes.

Finally, I neared the A-framed gas station. And wouldn’t you know it, just as I could see it’s unique frame in the distance, my mom’s car started to putter (putt, putt, putt)! I started praying!

I let off the gas a little (putt, putt, putt) and hoped to coast into the gas station (putt, putt, putt), but as I turned off the highway and up a small hill in the road leading to the station the car just couldn’t make it (putt, putt, blah!). I was out of gas! I tried to start it again…and again…and again (just for the record, you should never do this!). I was still barely coasting. Then, I started rolling down the hill. It was about this time when I looked up only to see guess who? It was Troy driving out of the gas station. Once again he was laughing at me. I was embarrassed!

Troy jumped out of his vehicle and started pushing the car. Then, a couple more guys joined in. Before I knew it, they had pushed me to the gas pump. I filled up while Troy waited for me (maybe Troy wasn’t such a bad guy after all!).

I finished filling up, then headed inside to pay. When I came back out, I put the key in the ignition. Nothing! I tried again. Nothing! The engine just wouldn’t turn over! Troy and a couple of guys came to my rescue again. They started discussing the problem. They asked me to pop the hood. After some discussion and another couple of attempts. Someone said they knew a mechanic who lived just up the road. As they went to get him, I sat and waited.

The whole time they were gone, I thought about how I was wasting a lot of time…because I was in such a hurry. Here, I had a $50.00 bill in my pocket the whole time, but didn’t’ think to use it. How silly! I was wishing I could step back in time so that I could get the gas I needed back in Montezuma. I was stressed! Why had I been in such a hurry?

Eventually the mechanic came, fixed the problem and I was on my way. I wish I could say that I never ran out of gas again, but it isn’t true.

You know, it’s all too easy to “run out of gas” on this “highway” we call life too. How often do we get in a hurry and forget about “filling up our tank”? We know where we need to go and what we need to do, but forget about what and who's going to get us there. We forget about the "$50.00 bill" in our pocket.

I am NOT a morning person by any means. I have a tendency to get up in the morning at the last minute. On the days I work I find myself hurrying, hurrying, hurrying to get my son and myself ready and out the door. On the days I don’t work, I scamper about trying to get my son and myself together and breakfast on the table for my husband. Let’s not even talk about Sunday mornings before church. It can make for a stressful situation. Yikes!

It’s so easy to rush right into my day without “filling up” first. I think of all the things I need to get done. I know better. I’ve been told. The Bible is sitting right there on the counter full of riches untold (like the $50.00 bill in my pocket), yet I don’t open it because I’m in just such a hurry. I have a tendency to end up in my own little world (and check-list).

Before I know it, I end up depleted, stressed out, wasting time, wondering why I was in such a hurry; and maybe even a little embarrassed.

I’m out of gas. Putt, putt, putt…blah! I keep trying to "drive on", but even the smallest “hill” can feel like a huge obstacle. Friends and neighbors can push me and help me out, but there’s really only one thing that I need…some “gasoline”.

There I sit, wondering why I was in such a hurry. Wishing I would have gone to The Source for my “refueling” in the first place.

In the past few months I have been trying to get up extra early (like I said, I’m not a morning person so this takes real discipline for me!) to walk (to wake myself up first), read my Bible and pray. I don’t get up early every day, but when I DO it makes all the difference in the world.

My husband has noticed. He has commented, “You seem to have so much more energy when you get up early to walk and read in the mornings.” It’s true. I get less sleep, but more zest. The day goes better because I “filled up” first thing in the morning. My heart and mind start out in the right place. Even though I took time to read and pray, I somehow seem to end up with much more time throughout the day. Things just go better because my attitude is in check.

I’m not saying that you HAVE TO get up extra early every morning to spend time with God. What I AM saying is that we all need some quiet time alone with Him…basking in his Word and His presence; talking to Him, sometime every day.

When I don't get this alone time with the Lord things don't tend to go well for me. Other days, I get that much desired time alone with God, but the circumstances of life make me feel depleted, stressed and hurried. That's when I go to The Source to be "refueled".

One day this week, I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I had a lot to get done that day. I knew I needed to hurry, but I also knew that I needed some quiet time with God to be “refueled” before I could go any further. My heart and mind needed to get back in the right place. I had rushed into my day and was feeling depleted and stressed. I longed for some quiet time with Him (and as any mom with young children knows this is easier said than done!). I found a little time. After a few minutes down on my knees and in His Word, my whole perspective had changed. The rest of the day went better than expected. I didn’t “run out of gas” because I had gone to The Source. What a great feeling!

Where do you go when you’re “out of gas”? Sometimes we choose to go to our spouse or pick up the phone to talk to a friend or to that pail of ice cream in the 'frige. However, there is nothing else that can “fill you up” like Jesus can!

But as for me, I will sing about your power. I will shout with joy each morning because of your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety in the day of distress.
Psalm 59:16

More thoughts: the people who helped me (including Troy) could represent our friends and loved ones who lift us up in prayer...and push us to draw near to God. And the mechanic represents Jesus who can come in and fix the problem causing the “gas” to work in our lives as it should. :) Just some food for thought.


  1. Thanks for this. I've been "out of gas" a lot over the last few weeks. It's a combination of a lot things and let down after my mountain top experience at She Speaks. I keep spending too much time on my computer connecting with the world instead of on my knees connecting with Jesus. Thanks for this reminder.


  2. I'm learning to fill up to start my day as well. IN my life, I cannot afford to run out of HIm, I'm just a broken pot for His glory.

    Keep writing sweet one, the world is reading.

    Blessings from Costa Rica,
    Sarah Dawn

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