The white roses I’d never have known were pink | Running on empty

by You Have My Word

I never thought I would thank God for my terrible sense of direction.

I would never have noticed that the roses were actually pink if I hadn’t walked to the petrol station.
I would never have walked to the petrol station if I hadn’t run out of petrol.
I would never have run out of petrol if I hadn’t been driving in circles trying to get of a suburb I barely knew.
I would never have been driving in circles if my sense of direction was good.

In fact, there are many things I would never have done today had I not run out of petrol.

I never would have played “Spot the difference” on an insurance ad if I hadn’t bought that specific newspaper.
I would never have bought that specific newspaper if I had a funnel in my car.
I would never have needed a funnel in my car if I didn’t have to pour petrol in from a water bottle I’d filled at the petrol station.
I would never have had to pour petrol in from a water bottle if I had petrol in the first place.

I’ve been running on empty.

Maybe in more ways than one.

The problem with running on empty is that you don’t run very far. Much like a few fuel fumes will get you that little distance, you actually need a constant supply of petrol if you’re planning on going any significant distance at all. For some, a significant distance may be across the country and back, for others, it may be 10 kilometres down the way.

Life works pretty much the same too. (Which silly woman said you can’t learn anything from cars?) You can get by with the bare minimum: just enough sleep, eating just enough, saying “hi” to God just enough, socialising just enough that people don’t think you’re dead. That all runs out somewhere. It comes apart. The wheels come off. You run out of fuel to do anything, or even carry on.

I heard a funny story the other day about a girl who saw the red warning light go on telling her that petrol was low. What did she do? She floored the accelerator. She figured if she was going to run out of fuel she should try and get to the closest station as quickly as possible. So much for driving economically those last few hundred metres. It feels like we do the same thing: we can feel our sustainability is running low so we go full speed as if we’re trying to get in as much as we possibly can before cutting out completely.

Driving with so little petrol damages your engine. Doing life with so little also damages your engine – the heart. Not always physically (although not sleeping enough and eating properly can damage your physical body for life) but the thing that makes you who you are.

Are you running on empty?

Back to the water bottle: I would never have heard God say “Be still, child” if my eye hadn’t been drawn to the label that read ‘Still’. For some God speaks in a loud voice, He speaks to others through music or prayer or His Word. Today God spoke to me with a water bottle that I needed because I ran out of petrol because I’m directionally challenged. I need to refuel – not with sustenance that I can put in, but strengthening and refreshing and fuelling that comes direct from God – the power of Christ in me.

Thank you, God, for making me directionally challenged.

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