There is a need for a similar monitoring process to gauge our spiritual tanks. It’s not enough to coast along in life and suddenly realize that our spirits are on empty.
With three (soon to be four) drivers in our family, we have multiple cars. I’ve noticed something very different between two of them. Our Subaru, which has a smaller tank, is able to go further on that tank than our Jeep. The strangest thing about the Jeep is the gas gauge, or I should say the warning light of the gauge. Most cars have a warning light that lights up and lets you know when the tank is low. Typically when that light comes on I check the digital readout that tells me the DTE: distance to empty. I don’t pay much attention to that until the warning light comes on. The problem with that approach while driving the Jeep is that the warning light doesn’t come on until the DTE: 10 miles.
How is that helpful? How is it helpful to let me know that I have 10 miles to go until my car will just stop running? The Subaru lets me know when I have about 60 miles to go.
“Thank you kind sir, I will plan accordingly to get to a gas station soon.” But with the Jeep, everything has now changed and I have to get to a gas station right away. Not helpful if I’m on the highway, and it’s even worse if I’m in the middle of nowhere. The gauge is supposed to be helpful.
Since this realization, when the needle in the Jeep drops to a quarter tank, I now push the buttons on the console to find out my DTE so I’m not surprised. I have to keep watch on that readout so that I can plan accordingly and not be caught off guard.
There is a need for a similar monitoring process to gauge our spiritual tanks. (Obviously keeping the tank full is the best approach, but life happens and we can forget to “fill up.”) It’s not enough to coast along in life and suddenly realize that our spirits are on empty. That’s dangerous in a car and dangerous to our spirits. I’ve tried to operate on empty and it simply doesn’t go well. We need to gauge the tank routinely, and preventatively, so that we aren’t caught off guard and running on fumes.
That gauging system is different for everyone. For me it requires the accountability of relationships and my Spiritual Director. It’s often not until I am faced with talking about my spiritual life that I sometimes realize the gauge level. When I am faced with getting in touch with my spirit I sometimes discover that the gauge is quite low and I have no idea how it happened. On occasion I have been confronted by others, people whose opinion I value, who have spoken into my life to point out the warning signs. These are helpful gauges for me.
What is your process for gauging the tank of your spirit?
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Husband, father, pastor, and Steelers fan. Lover of coffee, dogs, and bourbon.