March 25

Out of Gas and Hating It

March 25, 2011

Personal Growth

The gas gauge in my car tells me with reasonable accuracy how much fuel I have left in the tank. I hate the inconvenience of pulling over to refuel, though, so sometimes I put it off until the last possible moment.

When I wait too long, however, my mind begins to fill with all sorts of worries. While driving in heavy traffic, I'm constantly thinking about what might happen if I run out of gas. Am I in a spot where I can pull over and not block traffic? What if my wife or one of the kids needs me to go out of my planned route to help them? I wouldn't be able to help. If it's late at night, I might not find a gas station that's open. In fact, until I fill up the tank, I have trouble thinking of anything or anyone else. And I find that my worries about the gas make me more tense about everything else.

After I fill up, I'm calmer not only about driving but about everything else. Seems kind of stupid to ever drive when I'm close to empty, doesn't it? But I still do it on occasion, and I do it emotionally all the time. On many occasions, I know I'm getting empty. I can feel the fear and irritation building, and yet I keep on driving: I keep interacting with people and trying to carry on as though I were fine. But it's a lie, and before long I find myself lost in some kind of conflict.

I'm recognizing my emptiness sooner. I'm making calls to loving people, or at the very least stopping to tell the truth to myself about how I'm feeling. I create opportunities to fill up with the love I need from other people and from God. I do much better on a full tank.

(original idea from Frank Kraft)

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