I had so much to do, so many places to stop, so many errands to run. And only so much time. I heard that familiar *DING* from the dashboard of my
mom-mobile mini-van, and it was no surprise to see that I needed fuel.
But I don’t want to stop, I thought, I have so many errands to run, so much to do, and stopping for fuel is going to take up so much time. It’s going to stop me from getting all those other things done as quickly.
It was then that I suddenly saw myself stuck on the side of the road, out of gas, cars whipping by me on Stoney Trail, my babies crying in the backseat because they wanted to go home, they were hungry, but we were stuck, waiting for someone to come fill us up with fuel, so we could continue on. And being stuck on the side of the road, out of fuel, waiting for a fill up — that, my friends, was going to make the rest of my tasks take way longer than if I just stopped now and did what I needed to do so I could keep going.
That just sounds ridiculous, to read it now. Of course, if you need fuel, you pull off at the very next gas station and fill up your tank. Of course, you don’t keep going until you are damagingly empty on the side of the road, calling for help.
But do you think I take this advice very seriously when it comes to my actual daily life?
There was recently a time where both my husband and I pushed and pushed and pushed. Must-do-all-the-things. And the funny thing is, it was joyful at first. Neither of us even seen it coming. But slowly, over time, all-the-things started to wear on us, because we weren’t taking the time to fill ourselves up again. Our lamps can only stay full of oil for so long, before there is no oil left to burn. And that’s when you’re in trouble. That’s when you’re trying to serve on empty.
Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself — and you know what? I always, always, always read that with the presupposition that I already love myself a lot and that loving myself is a bad, selfish thing. But sometime in the last year, I began to see that verse in a totally new light: we need to love ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves, or we can’t really love our neighbor well. Because if I don’t love myself well, should I really love my neighbor that way?
It’s a fine line, really, and one that each individual person needs to sort out with the Holy Spirit, but we really need to take time to fill up the oil in our lamps, to take care of ourselves, to do little things that bring us joy, to rest, to commune with the Lord — we really can’t love others well unless we love ourselves well first, and serve from the overflow.
This post is Day 6 in a 31 Day Writing challenge – read more here: