An ancient ritual you may remember: pulling up to the gas pump at the filling station. Cranking the driver’s side window all the way down. Being greeted by a smiling, polite attendant wearing a hat. Saying: “Fill ‘er up, please.” And then the sounds of the pump engaging and the gas going into your car’s gas tank.
Fill ‘er up. When the gas tank gets empty, that’s what we have to do.
But how about when we get empty? Where’s our filling station? What do we do to fill up that emptiness inside?
I’ve run on empty many times in my life. In fact, my sister Barb might tell you that I’ve pushed the limits of the “E” several times!
When the emptiness inside me became too much for me to bear, I tried my best to fill it.
With food. That began early in life for me. Eating more mashed potatoes and rolls than anyone else at the dinner table. Taking second and third helpings when no one else did. Eating too many meals in restaurants. Buying chocolate and chips to treat myself because I had a bad day. Pounds do tend to pile on.
With unrequited love. I often chose the most unattainable guys and then crushed on them from afar. Or I rescued the underdogs, only to have them betray me. Or I worshiped my idea of a man instead of allowing him to be who he really was. Just never quite good enough for the good guys.
With stuff. A visit to my favorite store for that temporary fulfillment. A new book, a flavored coffee blend, artisan bread, a new shirt. Indulgence can be expensive, and satisfaction is only temporary.
With TV. Programs to dull my mind and drain my enthusiasm. Available 24/7. A recipe for apathy and procrastination, if there ever was one.
With isolation. If I can just sleep more or rest more. I need more alone time to think and write, to process my feelings. Everyone else is so busy. Soon, being alone becomes easier than being with people.
And guess what. Even with all of this, I was still running on empty. Hollow. So tired of living in the black hole inside me.
Then I found the way to begin moving from “E” to “F.” What I really needed was spiritual fuel. And I found that in only one filling station: God’s Word. It only took me 40 years to get there!
I know it may sound too simple, too cliché-ish, too formulaic. But when I began to hear God speak to me through his Word, when the words began to leap off the pages of the Bible and into my mind and heart, when I just couldn’t get enough of God’s absolute truth, I began to really live.
Where did I begin? Three Bible passages filled my emptiness with a fullness like I’d never known before. And still do. Maybe they will do the same for you.
No matter how difficult life becomes or how challenging a day may be or how alone I may feel, God is always there. He fills me up with the bread of life. He quenches my thirst with the living water. He restores me for the next challenge.
He will do the same for you. If you’ll let him. Please do.