Out of Gas

…Funny  how empty the house can seem after Christmas.  The last of the family members just pulled out of the driveway and the house is suddenly quiet…  No more squeals, pitter patter of little feet, giggles or “Mom…she’s trying to get my stuff!”  I miss that “music”. I’m so grateful that my children and grandchildren live close by…but there is still something a little sad about the day after Christmas.   Part of the reason, I think, is that I’m exhausted.  I love Christmas time and all the music, baking, cooking, decorating and wrapping that goes with it.  Most of the time I love it…but sometimes I’m just tired.  Today, after some cleaning up, to be honest I felt like I was all out of the “giving spirit”.  I then caught up on the on-line news and read about a tragic fire in New England, killing a woman’s three children and her parents early Christmas morning.  I then felt very sad all afternoon.   This made me feel even less like giving.  Frankly, I felt like I was “out of gas”.

Have you ever been driving and run out of gas?   I have.  I remember years ago (pre-children days) when our dog ran away.  I had let him out last thing before going to bed… and he didn’t return the entire night.  I couldn’t sleep from worrying about our little cocker spaniel.  The next day, as we searched the neighborhood I discovered that a neighbor living about a half mile away also had a dog that was missing.  It was an Afghan hound who happened to be  “in heat”.  I put two and two together and figured that my male dog was likely wherever her female dog was.  I called the local animal shelter (local in that it was in the state…about thirty miles away in a rural area) and was told that in fact they had picked up a cocker spaniel and an Afghan hound the night before.  I asked my neighbor if she would like for me to retrieve her dog when I got ours.  She was happy with my offer.   I hopped in my little Volkswagen and drove to pick them up.

After getting them “out of jail”  I began the drive back home when I noticed that my car began sputtering…and sputtering – and then stopped.  In my worry and haste upon leaving to get the dogs I had failed to notice that my car’s gas tank was nearly empty.   I was completely out of gas.  There were no cell phones yet, so I surmised I would need to walk to the nearest phone (which was quite a distance) to get help.  Meanwhile, I had my dog (and the neighbor’s dog in heat) sitting in the back seat of my little car.  Agreeing to pick them both up in my little car was the first stupid thing I did that day.  Not only had I failed to fill my tank, but now that I was on empty – havoc was preparing to rule.  I had not mentally or physically prepared myself for this journey.  I then somehow found some kind of rope (not sure what kind – perhaps it was even dental floss) and tied one dog to one door handle inside the car and the other dog to the other door handle.  They began to howl.  It was not a pretty sight.  I then ventured out (I think with tears) to find some fuel.   Fortunately, I was able to summon some help and received enough fuel to make it to a gas station.

This is sort of what I felt like today.  Out of gas and feeling “on empty”.  I thought about the choices I could make.  One was to get some much needed rest (which I did).   I remembered how Elijah had gone from an incredible day of great victory and rejoicing to feeling weak and “down” the next day.  1 Kings 19:4-5

    while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” [5] Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

    All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

The rest and some nourishment helped.  I could then choose to think about all things sad and pick up other’s sorrows as well or set my mind differently.  (While it is good to feel compassion…when there is nothing I can do for a situation I realize I “simply” need to take it to God.)   Most of all, I needed refueling.  This meant I needed to humbly seek help and to search for a “filling station”.   It’s not necessarily simple to get there right away.  Sometimes we have to “tie up” the distractions in the back seat and get out of the car to find help and a source for fuel.  So, I tried to “tie up” the distractions that were howling in the back of my mind and searched for spiritual fuel.  I was ministered to by the scriptures I read.  I count on, and prayed to claim the promise in  Ephes. 3:16

    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Then I read some more scriptures.  It never ceases to amaze me how “alive and active” they are.   I prayed that God would fill me up so I could give some more, and he did.  I have been so very blessed by God.   I know if I imitate Jesus that means I need to keep on giving and loving even when I’m feeling tired of giving. Jesus did this again and again, no matter the circumstance.  Amazing!   I’m so grateful that God, through His Spirit, continually fills us so that there is always something to give.  Romans 5:5

    And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


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  1. Ilona

    Your blog today was so timely and encouraging. It was “refueling” for me and for my sister-in-law, with whom I shared it. Thanks once again for putting your heart out there!

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks for your continual encouragement Ilona.

  2. Pat Wilkerson Tynes

    thanks, Jeanie. out of gas and still hosting. good guidance. Love u.

    • jeanieshaw

      Love you too. Missed talking to you of late. I hope you are feeling better. Sounded like you were sick. I’ll call you soon.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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