Running On Fumes

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:1-2
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28


I’ve heard it said that there are two types of people in this world. There are those individuals who see the “E” illuminated on their car’s dashboard and think, “I got this…I can drive 15 more miles easily.” They push their car to the limit and laugh in the face of danger. They are so bold that they have been known to pass a Shell station in spite of the flashing light demanding their attention. And on occasion (sometimes even more than once), their luck runs out and they find themselves broken down on the side of the road.

Then you have those who are the complete opposite. They see the gas gauge not even at the half-way point and think, “Oh my gosh…I need to fill-up…NOW!” As soon as they spot a gas station, they dart in, avoiding “disaster.”

When it comes to my wife and I and our routine “discussions” on this matter (especially when we have an important event we need to go to), Jenn is the daredevil and I’m Mr. Conservative. She’s so focused on getting from Point A to Point B that stopping to get gas slips her mind. I, on the other hand, worry and fret over pretty much everything, love to be in control, and hate to be surprised.

In the grand scheme of things, forgetting to fill up your tank is not that big of a deal. Neither is always making sure its topped off to ensure you are in control. Yet, when it comes to caring for our heart and leading our families, both approaches are dangerous.

As hard as it is for me to admit this, my heart tank is not only low, it’s puttering on the fumes of the fumes. This stage of life I find myself in, with work and family responsibilities, has me running on empty.  I’ve been going and going non-stop. There has indeed been no rest for the weary.

On top of this, worry keeps me up at night as I think through every possible scenario with the issues facing our family. None of those issues are earth shattering and we are blessed in ways we can’t comprehend. But, this still doesn’t stop me from trying to fix everything, control everything, and be the author of my own story. Trying to be everything for everyone has me thinking the world is all about me. My needs. My desires. My plans. But, it’s not.

In order to truly love and be present for my family, I need to rest. I show value to them by valuing time to care for myself. Scripture speaks about the importance of staying connected to Christ (John 15:1-17). It goes as far as saying that apart from Him I can accomplish a whole lot of nothing. But, by relying on Him, and looking to Him to guide my steps, I can be the type of husband and father my family deserves.

I know this to be true, but like any good control freak, loosening that grip and relaxing doesn’t come naturally. This is why slowing down, resting and refueling provides me with an opportunity to refocus and then respond. My need to be in control, or at least foolishly thinking I am, doesn’t require any faith. Yet, God has different plans for my life and they always involve pushing me to deeper faith and dependence. So, today, I will stop and rest.


  • What lights are flashing on the dashboard of your heart?
  • How would you describe your current energy level? Are you running on empty? Where are you pushing yourself too much in an effort to control your situation?


God, open my eyes to see that You are in control and I am not. Remind me that I show how much I care for others by first caring for my own soul. Refuel me with Your love, grace, and mercy. Help me to hit pause and simply be still.  In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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