I often find myself confronting a crossroad. A faint glimmer of red unearths itself for only a moment before it slips away. Back again, a drift of red appears and disappears. Soon returning again, this time a little more sure, lingering a little longer. Winking at me ever so slightly. I smile shyly back at it, knowing it is going to force my hand in due time. We stroll along from stop light to stop light, casually noticing one another for only a moment to then turn away from each other again. Pretty soon the subtleties stop. No longer is the faint red hue dull. In fact, now no longer faint at all. More certain. More apt to stay. My eyes divert again to the trees surrounding me. My brain is cluttered with thoughts of the crossroad I am going to be forced to face. Now fiery, I can no longer ignore it. It’s not going away anymore. My impulse to keep going grows stronger. What if I just ignore it? What if I can push it for as long as I did last time. Certainly I can do it again. WE can do it again. But, no. The light shines bright. So bright to not be ignored. Like a child screaming at your feet to pick you up or a wave swelling so high to take a surfer to shore, I can’t ignore it any longer. It will soon get what it wants. But, I don’t want to do what I need to do! It takes time and energy and money and stopping. I don’t want to do it. But it wouldn’t be good to ignore it. With my pedal pressed down, I finally turn right and put my car in park. It’s time.
The gas light is bright red.
Like, about to jump out of the dashboard and punch me in the face, red.
What is it about stopping and refueling that seems so unbearable? As though breaking down on the side of a road is not going to add an extra three exhausting hours to your life.
Why is it that some of us choose to push ourselves to the point of breaking, simply because we don’t want to stop?
I don’t like to stop for gas because of a myriad of reasons. Too lame to admit them all, I will admit I have an ongoing dialogue once the gas light comes on that essentially ends with “If I can just get home, Chris can fill it up tomorrow.” There we go. That’s my honest truth. (Love you, honey!!)
But today, as I tried to ignore my gas light (fyi, our kids are not in the car when I’m testing the great lengths of my gas tank) I finally, painstakingly pulled into the gas station to fill up. And you know what? As I drove out of the gas station a mere five minutes later, I felt like I could conquer the world. I had a full tank of gas and things were looking up! No longer did I have to wonder what running out of gas on I30 would look like. I could just drive.
But let’s be honest, for people like us, the empty light shines bright in other areas of our lives, too, right? We get the warnings, we see we’re on about empty but we still resist refueling. Spiritually speaking, this happens to me. I do everything “for the Lord” but in my own strength. I often don’t take the time to refuel with life-giving Scripture or soul-satisfying prayer time. No, instead I just keep going. Gotta check my Facebook, gotta clean up another cheerio, gotta write another blog post.
Sometimes our own empty light shines so bright that we just need to stop and refuel.
Running is really good for me. I always feel great when I do it. Every single time this year I have run I have loved it. Yes, that one time. But dredging up the energy to refuel (running is refueling for me) is just one more thing I opt out of. Again, choosing to see what else I can do BESIDES doing what is good for me.
What about you? Are you an empty light avoider? Do you keep going for the sake of… well, going?
A gas tank is limited. It can only go so far before the car shuts down.
If you feel like you are running on empty, avoiding the simple signs that say “you might want to pull over and refuel” then maybe you can take this blog post as YOUR empty light shining bright.
Pull over for a minute. Do that thing that refuels you. Spend some time alone with the word of God and let it fill you back up. Get outside into fresh air and take a deep breath in. Don’t ignore it anymore. You don’t want to end up on the side of the road stranded.
The empty light shines bright for a reason. It’s the indicator that you’re REALLY close to empty. The goal is not to see the empty light shining bright. In fact, the goal is to keep a steady flow of fuel in the system so you always have enough to keep going.
Maybe it’s your time to stop ignoring the empty light.
Maybe it’s time to refuel to full.