Running on Empty

Fuel Guage

Karen Hodge

December 2, 2015

 

During this time of the year, there are many indicators that our lives are full. Consider all the delicious food that fills our stomachs at holiday meals.  Our wallets are filled with receipts from gifts purchased. Holiday décor overflows all the way to our street.

So if our lives are so full, why is it that we often feel like we are running on empty?

Today I pulled into my office parking lot on fumes. My fuel light indicator was on and instead of driving straight to the gas station I pushed the button that tells me how much longer I can DTE – Drive until empty. The light cautions me that unless I address this fuel problem, I will be stranded.

What is our fuel light indicator? Does it show up in your emotions, words, or relationships? What a gift it would be if we had our own red light to let others know of the impending threat. Warning: this woman is hangry (hungry+angry), cranky, anxious, fearful, or despairing.

Popular researcher Brene Brown says, “We live in a culture of scarcity. The not-enoughness of life. We wake up in the morning and we say, I didn’t get enough sleep. And we hit the pillow saying, I didn’t get enough done. We are never thin enough, extraordinary enough or good enough.” The opposite of scarcity is abundance. It is truly enough.

My emptiness impacts others but so does my fullness as it overflows with blessings for others. We have an invitation to be full, to have our emptiness filled and satisfied.  Jesus reminds us that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV).

Blaise Pascal, a philosopher from the 1600’s, said, “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?  This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are though none can help since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.”

We have a God-shaped hole inside our hearts that we are trying to fill with many good, yet not ultimate, things. We seek experiences, entertainment, good works, the approval of others, and a good reputation, all of which ultimately leave us empty. This hole cannot be filled with created things, but only with the Creator. The Creator God in the Garden is the one who creates something out of nothing; he forms and then fills empty things. He filled the water with fish, the sky with birds, the land with food, and he promises to fill us with himself.

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