When You’re Running on Empty

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I’ll bet a cupcake most of us can sing this song — and mean it — at least twice a year. Listen

Kind of captures the pace of life, huh?  Yep, summer is in your rearview mirror.  And you made it through the start-up of all the back to back activities; school shopping, carpooling, slip signing, and on and on.  But up ahead is another marathon race; the holiday season with planning and inviting and baking and buying and wrapping and returning.  Before you merge into that fast lane, fill up your tank by reading When You’re Running on Empty – by Katy McCown and top it off with the Rooted in Truth, Growing in Love wrap up.


katy_mccown_headshot_72My heart beat a little faster as I realized the truth about my situation.  I needed fuel and couldn’t find any.

Yes, the “low fuel” warning lit up miles ago which meant my dear, well-intentioned van showed me the empty gas tank with the words, “Drive to a gas station,” spelled out in bright yellow letters.

Yes, I saw it. Yes, I acknowledged it … and yes, I ignored it.

I’ve actually built a bit of a reputation for waiting until the very last second to stop for gas. In college, my sister usually bore the brunt of my push-it-till-the-last-drop decisions.

Let’s just say, there may have been a time or two I parked our shared vehicle in front of the apartment on empty, only for her to drive it next and run out of gas on the way to fill up.

This particular day, with my six kids in the backseat, I wondered if I’d make it in time.

My friend in the passenger seat noticed me tighten my grip on the wheel and squirmed in her seat. “Are we pushing it?” she asked.

“Yep,” I answered, as we drove down the highway in silence.

For a moment, my mind wandered to a time similar to this one … only it was my soul on empty.

My days started before sunrise and ended long after the stars twinkled overhead. Demands flooded from every direction. And duty pounded on my door.

Some nights I met my husband at the door and fell into his arms, tears dropping at his feet. There just wasn’t enough of me to go around.

I noticed my soul’s “low fuel” light. I felt God’s gentle nudge to pull away and fill up in His presence. But I ignored it. It wasn’t until I neared a breakdown that I finally realized how vital that fuel really is.

Recently I learned of a woman in a similar season of life but who handled it differently. As she noticed the “low fuel” lights in her soul, she began to pray, God, show me a time I can be with You.

Not long after, she started waking up every day at 2 a.m. No alarm clock. No screaming baby to blame. She just woke up, and she took it as God’s offer to meet with Him.

She would get out of bed and snuggle up to her Lord for the next hour or so. Then she slipped back under the covers until life and light woke her again.

When I felt those same spiritual “low fuel” signs, instead of asking God to show me time, I argued with Him about how I didn’t have enough time. When He gently nudged me to wake a little earlier and spend those quiet moments with Him, I brushed it off and reasoned, There’s no way God would want me to do this. He knows I need my sleep.

Sometimes it seems futile to pull over. There’s always a place to go, a mission to accomplish or an errand to run. And stopping to refuel feels like a waste of time. But in today’s key verse Jesus reminds us, “… without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b).

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NKJV)

We don’t know what each day holds, but God sees what’s next. He knows what we need and how to equip us for the things ahead. If only we’ll pay attention when the Light alerts us.

That dreadful day on the highway as the last drops of gasoline dripped out of the tank, we found help. I’ve never been more excited to see a gas station. And when I pulled away with a full tank of gas, my heart felt very different than when we arrived. I felt relief and confidence to continue moving down the road.

My soul also found relief through those draining days of life. After physical sickness, emotional exhaustion and a spiritual drought, I finally dropped to my knees and admitted my need for a fuel only found in Jesus. I gulped down His presence and drank in His peace, all the while wondering why I waited so long to pull over.

If your soul is nearing empty, don’t wait! Take time to fuel up and find rest for your soul.

Dear God, I can’t make it on my own. Forgive me for ever thinking I could. Thank You for Your faithfulness to fill me up, if only I’ll remain in You and pay attention to Your instruction. Help me abide in You today, depending on You alone for everything I need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Rooted in TRUTH: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NKJV)  Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

Growing In LOVE:  How do you spell love?  U-N-D-I-V-I-D-E-D-A-T-T-E-N-T-I-O-N. Be intentional and don’t put your peepers on any screens until after you have laid eyes on the Lord!  Say no to email, social media, or text messages until AFTER you say yes to Jesus. Give Him your undivided attention.  Be a Mary in a Martha world.

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