Running on Empty?

empty.jpgI suspect you know what it is like to be "running on empty."  I sure do!  There are certain activities that just drain the energy out of me (long meetings, endless discussions over matters that seem insignificant, etc.)  Sometimes the pace is fast, full, and constant.  At some point, I begin to feel empty.

Fil Anderson has written a fine work entitled Running On Empty.  Early in the book, he writes:

…The greatest threats I’ve encountered are not the arguments of skeptics or the lure of drink, drugs, or sex.  The greatest threats are the constant busyness and frantic hurry that demand my allegiance.  Author Robert Benson says, "We take our place in the race and watch our lives disappear in the daily grind."  We rarely are grounded in the present moment (where God is to be encountered) because we’re always rushing out beyond it or replaying in our minds our disappointing past.  Shame and sadness over our dark past drives us to strive for a brighter future, which generally winds up being busier rather than better.  (pp. 19-20)

The crazy truth is that as much as we complain about it, we actually want to be seduced by busyness.  But why do we love the killer?  In part, it’s because when we’re busy, we don’t have to think about important matters we prefer to avoid.  Busyness enables us to quiet the voice of the deeper issues that trouble and haunt us.  Plus busyness makes us feel important.  Everyone prefers action and adventure to boredom.  (p. 20)

(Fil Anderson, Running On Empty

Does this sound familiar at all?  Is busyness seductive?  What does it promise? 

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9 thoughts on “Running on Empty?

  1. It is familiar and i try so hard not to be caught in the undertow of busyness…. but ever so often i get tired from swimming against the current that i do get caught up in it.. however i do not want to be so busy that i miss out on being like Jesus on the sod… i want to be able to stop and help the fallen… help feed the hungry and encourage the brokenhearted….
    p.s my in-laws Roy and Sharon Farris send their regards

  2. Jim,
    I am afraid I battle this issue all the time. There must be something in my subconscious that says if I am not busy then I must be lazy. I find myself overextended a lot of the time, but I seem to always get things done. I long for the ability to just slow down. I have been making a real effort the last few months to cut back on some things. I have succeeded to a degree, but I have a good bit to go.

  3. I was a victim to too much busyness in my life for many years for all of the reasons y’all have given already.  Even after I was unable to work full time any more I let other things interfere between me and God.  In my case, deep depression was one thing.  What’s really interesting to me now looking back from about five years later is how God dealt with me and with that to change me dramatically.  He brought me down (and then raised me up even higher than ever before) with a series of very serious health problems, including open heart surgery, five bypasses and a series of complications after that, even though I was still in my mid 50s. That was in 2004.  Then in 2005, I was laid up for four months and couldn’t even be on my feet at all with a severe diabetic ulcer on my left foot.  About the time I recovered from that Hurricane Katrina hit, which was a terrible, terrible blow, although Tom and I fared well as far as our house.  But he was under enormous strain and stress for months and months and months afterward and has not fully recovered to this day.As for me – during that same post-Katrina time – I broke my left foot and was totally laid up once again off of it (because it refused to heal, again due to diabetes) – this time for SEVEN months!!  I was not only confined at home, but totally off my foot and couldn’t do anything!  Bless my mom’s heart (she lives there in Abilene), she bought me a scooter to ride around the house and I blogged.  That and spent a lot of time thinking and praying and pondering and despairing what my life had been reduced to.  At first it was very hard to bear and I nearly went crazy NOT doing anything.But you know what?  God used that time to grow me and develop me and change me into a much better person with a much deeper understanding of what He is all about and who He is and it has been amazing.  Because of my blogging ministry from my chair here in front of my computer, God has changed everything in my life for the better!Today Tom and I have moved up the road to higher ground in this little town of Picayune, Mississippi, Tom is considering retirement hopefully within the next few months, my health has stabilized considerably (although it’s always a delicate balancing act) and we are building a new small home on a wooded hill with a creek full of fish behind and below us at the back of our property down the hill.So guys – slow down some and take the time to spend some time with God.  If not, He’s liable to make the time for Himself in spite of your busyness!  I’m tellin’ ya – solitude and silence has a lot of action in it when it is completed.  That’s been MY experience anyway, for what it’s worth.Cheers & Blessings to you all today!  Dee

  4. Bryan,So good that you recognize this.  I think the awareness of the pressure and attraction of busyness is half the battle.Thanks for your comment.  Please say hello to your in-laws.  I have good memories of them. 

  5. Keith,How good that you see this and that you are making some progress.  Sounds like you are addressing this and that is wonderful.Thanks… 

  6. Dee,What a wonderful note and testimony to the faithfulness and love of God throughout all of your illnesses.  You have reminded me and the rest of us who read this today of the significance of a life yielded to God–even when homebound and on a scooter.Thanks!  

  7. Busyness promises many things for me, not only that I’m not lazy or the achievement/adulation from others, but also that others around me aren’t disappointed.  Difficulty saying no is a huge part of my struggle with busyness.  I’m learning to manage the guilt that comes along with saying no, because I have been more physically ill this past several months as my life has been at its busiest.  So needless to say, I’m learning the hard way but know that there is life in a slower life rather than a hectic one.  But the seduction is strong, and I fight it on a daily basis.  I appreciate your reminders in your posts!

  8. I really understand where you are coming from. I know so many people who just feel as if they have to stay busy all the time. I have to wonder what they are running from.I’ve seen people who never recover from a trauma or loss because they don’t allow themselves time to grieve. I think they believe if they ignore the pain it will go away. It doesn’t. For a couple of years, both my girls were involved in competitive sports; I was always in the car taking one of them to practice and weekends were packed with practices and competitions.I was so busy running, so busy in the car that I didn’t realize how much our family was suffering. Yes, we all went to competitions together and we did enjoy the common interest.But a couple of years later, when they both quit, I rediscovered the concept of the family dinner table and I’m so glad I did. I didn’t know what we had lost until we got it back and I’m so glad we did as our oldest in now away at college. Life is so short — it just is not worth it.