Today I forgot to eat breakfast..
This is actually a pretty unusual occurrence. Unlike my teenage daughter, I am totally committed to both the concept and practice of breakfast, but somehow in the middle of the hunt for hairbrushes, socks and PE bags… I just forgot to eat anything.
I didn’t notice my error on the way to school or on the way back, in the supermarket or while hanging out the washing. But I really noticed 4 minutes into my daily dose of pain on the treadmill: There was nothing in the tank. I could amble, but running, or even a moderately brisk walk was completely out of the question! I was going nowhere.
I don’t often make the same mistake with the car.
If I’m going on a long journey I make sure the tank is absolutely full before I start. It’s expensive to fill the car up, and it takes a few minutes longer, but I need to know I’m not going to run out of fuel halfway through the journey. And I don’t know what might happen on the way, what the traffic will be like, or whether the road will be closed and I’ll have to make a detour so I need to know I’ve got not ‘just enough’ but ‘more than enough’.
Around the town I take more risks: Waiting until my fuel light is blinking frantically before I put in just enough petrol to get the needle out of the red zone, knowing that the light will be flashing again a few days later. I tell myself it’s OK to run the car like this because I’m never very far from a fuel station and I do seem to manage to just dodge disaster, but…
All this has made me think about how I live my spiritual life.
I know that when I’m aware of a challenge ahead, something where I need to do more than just survive, but to be able to pour out God’s love, grace and power to people around me, I take my time with God a bit more seriously. Praying, reading the word, soaking, reading scripture aloud, singing worship and spending time with other Christians talking about Jesus… all these things that ‘fill-up’ my spiritual tank I do when I realise there’s something on the road in front of me that’s going to require more than just myself.
Most of the time though, I suspect I get by on the ‘just enough’, and occasionally, like this morning, I realise that I’ve run completely empty and that I need to drag myself back into God’s presence and ask him again to pour out his abundance into my emptiness.
There are times in life that it’s hard to do anything but grab a moment with the Lord here and there. Kids, jobs, family, sickness, life, all require our attention and time and energy. It can be so hard to find time to invest in our relationship with God.
And there is grace for difficult times: We can get by like that for so long. But it’s not a way to live long-term.
We need quality time in God’s presence.
We need it because we don’t actually want our lives to be just ‘getting-by’, but because God has written a much more exciting calling in our hearts:
to be a continual outpouring of God’s love, grace and power to the people around us.
And we can’t only be pourers, it simply doesn’t work… Like jugs we are made both for pouring out and for filling up.
It’s actually pretty obvious which one of those needs to happen first.
So whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. Whatever it looks like for you.
Carve out time, make a priority, find a space: Eat your breakfast!