Most of us have run out of gas at some point. It’s painful.
When my kids were young, we went on a vacation to Lake Tahoe. We borrowed a trailer from a church staff member and attached it to the back of my truck. Unfortunately, I didn’t take into consideration how the extra weight on my truck would impact my gas mileage, and I ran out of gas before we made it to our destination. I then had to hike up a mountain to get more gas. It wasn’t a fun experience.
I’ve come to recognize the similarities between running out of gas in our vehicles and running out of energy in our lives. They share many of the same causes. Below are nine reasons we run out of gas physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
1. We don’t start out with a full tank. The way we start our day sets our day. If we don’t start out with a full tank, we’ll be running on empty as the day goes on. That’s why we must start each day spending time with the Lord, so we can fill up emotionally and spiritually.
2. We’re too busy to pause and refuel. Without regular periods of refueling spiritually, emotionally, and relationally, we’ll run out of gas. The problem is we often get busy and think we don’t have time to refuel. But the truth is, we don’t have time not to refuel. We need to plan buffers in our lives, or we’ll never have time for them.
3. We aren’t aware of the hidden leaks that are draining us. I’ve found there are two big categories of leaks in our lives—relationships and responsibilities. Often, we don’t realize that we might have relationships in our lives that sap our creativity, energy, and strength. We also overload ourselves with more responsibilities than we can possibly fulfill. Both of those leaks will deplete our energy without realizing it.
4. We ignore the owner’s manual and push ourselves further than we were created to go. A car’s owner’s manual will tell you how far it’s designed to go on a tank of gas. Unfortunately, most of us never take the manual out of the glove compartment.
Same is true with our “emotional tanks.” If we ignore what the Bible says about how we’re made, we’ll run out of gas regularly. For example, the Bible tells us to take a day of rest every seven days. When we ignore this command, our bodies pay the price.
5. We’re in a hurry. If you drive 80 miles per hour, you’ll run out of gas much faster than if you drive 40 miles per hour. Hurry wears you out. We need to constantly check the speed of our lives and make changes to create necessary margins.
6. We’re distracted and not watching our gauges. We have gauges in our lives that show us when we’re headed toward disaster. Sleep is one such gauge. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re in danger. You ignore that danger warning at your own risk.
I’ve noticed I tend to gain weight when I am under stress. It’s a clear sign to me that I need to make a change. If you think about it, you’ll come up with gauges that tell you when you’re approaching danger, too.
7. The more we carry, the sooner we’ll run out of gas. We’re often exhausted because we have too much on our plate. It’s easy to add one more task to our to-do list without considering how it will impact our energy levels. It’s harder to deal with the fallout that inevitably happens when our tank gets depleted because we keep “adding one more thing” to our lives.
8. We feel pressure to do it now. Any time you try to do something too quickly, it will drain your energy. You can’t constantly “push the pedal to the metal” without facing consequences. Rapid acceleration wastes gas when you’re driving. It wastes your energy in life as well.
9. We think the limits of our tank don’t apply to us. Some of us think we’re superheroes. We believe God’s instructions on building margin into our lives don’t apply to us. That kind of arrogance will deplete energy. None of us are immune from the consequences of overloading our lives.
I know many of you are running out of gas right now. Take a look at the four actions I shared last week that can help you keep your tank filled so you won’t run out of gas.