Running on Empty


I feel tired. It has been a long and hectic week. Volleyball games. Company with us for a few days. A very long meeting one day. Other not so long but nevertheless, tiring meetings on some other days. Meanwhile, a good friend who I have not talked with in sometime called yesterday. I don’t think that we have talked in almost a year. He is one of those people with whom I can talk with and it is like we had talked yesterday. He used a phrase that kind of stuck with me the rest of the day. He spoke of people who were empty. Maybe it struck me because I just bought a new book entitled, Running on Empty. (I don’t want to recommend it just yet since I have not read it.) Maybe it struck me because of the kind of week that it has been.

Running on empty. Have you been there? I have. As we talked, I thought of times when I was very much on empty. Can you relate to any of these?

1. Physically exhausted. Too much coffee. Too little sleep. No exercise. Lots of junk food. Never feeling great. In fact, most of the time you just feel fatigued.

2. Emotionally spent. I have wrestled with this one. Preaching funerals. Doing a wedding. A stressful and frustrating meeting. Scrambling to get the bases covered. Now feeling on edge. Irritable. Responding with words that are too sharp.

3. Mentally scrambled. Have you experienced this one? Tired of thinking. Tired of wrestling with a decision. Tired of trying to figure out a way out of the mess. Tired of the “heaviness” of life. Just prop me up in front of the TV.

4. Spiritually bland. You are in a rut and you know it. You are coasting. You look back to a time when you were on fire, passionate for the things of God. You wonder what happened to you. You’ve become cynical and sarcastic.

This is not a good place to be unless you are planning to seek God in your thirst. I want to be like the Psalmist who said,

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63)

The answer to feeling empty is not to just spend the day talking about how empty you are. Rather, it is to seek God. It is to let that hunger and thirst move you toward the only one who can give lasting satisfaction.

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