RUNNING ON EMPTY

 

By Lisa Huddleston 

“… but be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

My Low Fuel light has been on for days, and there’s nothing but fumes left in my tank—and it’s only eight o’clock in the morning.  How did I let myself get in this condition again?  I know that I’m basically an introvert who doesn’t handle stress and back-to-back activity very well.  I’m happiest on days when I can take my time, drink my coffee, read my Bible and other books, spend time writing, exercise in the afternoon when my studies are over, and then shower before my husband gets home.  I love cozy visits with friends—especially intimate one-on-one discussions curled up on the couch with coffee cups in hand.  I love my weekly trips to church for worship, Bible study, planning, rehearsals, and so on—especially when everyone is happy, and there aren’t many meetings involved.  But, too much activity runs me straight into the ground.  I know these truths about myself.  Yet, somehow my calendar seems to fill its pages while I’m not looking and then obligate me to keep its promises.  And before I know it, I’m back to running on empty.

Some of my friends are the complete opposite of my personality.  They are outgoing, extroverted people who build energy by spending lots of time with lots of people and running from one appointment to the next.  They get cabin fever if they are trapped at home for “a whole day!”  “The more the merrier” is their motto, and they don’t understand why I don’t share their joy over lunches with ten of our closest friends and spontaneous trips to spas or shopping malls.  Honestly, girls, I love you.  I just don’t have your energy.  But, lately I’ve noticed that even some of my more outgoing buddies have seemed a little exhausted by the rush.  Refueling seems to be a topic that everyone can relate to—at least once in awhile.  Therefore, wisdom begs the question:  “How do you refuel when you’ve let your tank run dry?”

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).  How do wise people, wise believers specifically, walk?  First of all, Paul tells us to “pay careful attention.”  In my case, that means I need to do my best to spread my activities out.  Obviously, it is not always possible to avoid busy days, but to the best of my ability, I should schedule some down time in every day that I can. 

Next, wise people make the most of the time they are given.  Again, this is a very personalized concept.  If you are a person who thrives on action, you may make the most of your time by spending it in unflagging activity and service for others.  You recharge as you go.  However, if you are more like me, you may make the most of your time in solitary meditation and thoughtful pondering refilling the basin from which you may pour yourself out for others. 

Either way, knowing your own personality and individual needs will help you to serve as God has designed you and will enable you to make the most of your days.  “So don’t be foolish” by trying to be someone you’re not—an extrovert with too much time on her hands or an introvert who is worn out trying to keep up with the rat race.  Rather, “understand what the Lord’s will is” (Eph. 5:17).  He has made you to serve in the way He has designed you.  No apologies needed and no false pride required. 

Running on empty?  How can you refuel?  Seek His guidance, be who He made you to be, and let Him fill you with His Spirit.  Your weary self and your wary friends will thank you.

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