11/10/10

Keep Your Tank Full

One of our cars had this maddening habit of requiring gasoline sometime before the tank is even down to one-quarter full. My husband "rides" the tank a little closer than I'd like. I head to the gas station when the gas is half gone. I like that feeling of security. I don't have to wonder whether I'll make it to my destination. I can focus on other things.

I read something by author Jerry B. Jenkins about writing that struck me hard this week. Preparing to attend and speak at the CLASS Christian Writers Conference, I rushed through preparations to teach until I was worn out. I couldn't think straight, and worse, my time with God suffered. I rationalized that since I didn't have time for my normal Quiet Time routine, what could a mere five or ten minutes do to help? But I told my husband, a few days before the conference, "I'm running on empty." Exactly.

Jenkins wrote, in Writing for the Soul,* "To write, you need a full tank, and I'm not talking about writing resources. I'm talking about emotional and spiritual well being. With physical exercise, anything is better than nothing. Even just five minutes on a rowing machine gets the blood pumping and the pulse jumping."

That answered my "What could a mere five or ten minutes do to help?"

Jenkins continued, "The same is true with spiritual exercise; do whatever it takes to jumpstart your spiritual life ~ prayer, Bible reading, reflection, whatever. Don't feel like you're a failure if you haven't worked your way up to an hour a day. Anything is better than nothing ~ though we should, of course, be trying to build those muscles."*

I like that word "jumpstart." Between exhaustion and illness, I've felt like I needed jumper cables every morning! I've let some spiritual disciplines slide, in these stressful weeks, but I have to say, my relationship with God is intact. I've never felt closer to Him. I've never enjoyed Him more.

I think that perhaps we have a spiritual tank with different compartments to be filled ~ one for times of Bible reading, one for intimacy in prayer, one for an outflow of service, etc. From time to time, one of those compartments gets low, and we need to take time to fill it. Other times, a compartment seems to overflow. My joy in the Lord has overflowed these days in the midst of struggle (Neh. 8:10b), and He has strengthened me within (Eph. 3:16).

The Holy Spirit wants to fill us with all we need to live the victorious Christian life, but we have to open the tank and yield every compartment to His control (Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:18b).

How about you? Does your tank need filling today?

* Jerry B. Jenkins, Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice
from an Extraordinary Writing Life
(Writer's Digest Books, 2006), p. 58

2 comments:

crazydaisy said...

I need this! I need to get in the habit of 5 or 10 minutes for a lot pf things. Quiet time, studyig, the gym, CLEANING.... This was a great post! I choose babysteps!

lolwithgod.com said...

Baby Steps ... I like that. We can accomplish more than we think we can, one step at a time.