Running on Fumes
I’m a fat kid trapped in a skinny kid’s body. I love love love to eat. Like…no lie – I’m the type to take cellphone pictures of an especially good-looking meal, so that I later can look back on it fondly and show friends (see above). I’m like a hobbit – I get cranky if I don’t get to have my second breakfast every day (The LOTR fans should get that reference, but if not click HERE to see a clip). Not to sound (too) trite, but your boy’s been eating good for over two decades now and I’m still going strong. (lol Stay with me…I’m going somewhere with this)
Last Sunday (12/26) as I got ready to journey back to NYC from my family’s house in GA, there was a major natural disaster that threatened my travel. Nah, I’m not referring to the massive snowstorm that hit the east coast and left many holiday travelers stranded; rather, I’m talking about the debilitating stomach virus that ran through my family and finally caught up with me right before I left. (TMI WARNING!!!: It was awful – for over 36 hours any and everything I tried to eat quickly “came back” to haunt me). I may have eaten thousands upon thousands of times in the almost 22 years that I’ve been alive, but after that mere 36 hour forced-fast, I felt fatigued, weak and…well…drained, as if I couldn’t go on any longer. For a fatty such as myself, this was a traumatic experience lol, but it did get me thinking about my spiritual diet.
While going even 36 hours without food was a struggle for me regardless of how many good meals I’ve had in my life, falling into the trap of going weeks or even months without spending real personal time with God is sadly not always so hard. I grew up in church and in a Christian home where family Bible study, morning devotionals, nightly prayer, AWANA, gospel music and even Christian movies were the norm. In many ways, for the almost two decades leading up to college, I was fed with Scripture until I was stuffed. Honestly, by college I felt like I couldn’t take in anymore and that all I wanted to do was spiritually loosen my belt and just lay on the couch like you do post-Thanksgiving gluttony. It wasn’t that I wasn’t active; I still attended church and bible study regularly and helped out in a Christian fellowship on campus, but there were several periods where I wasn’t in God’s word faithfully at all. Ambassador of the Cross Movement has a line that describes these times perfectly, “But something’s still wrong with the picture/I’m working for You daily, but barely I’m getting with Ya.” Because of my upbringing, even in those times of neglecting personal bible study, I always had a store of biblical knowledge to draw upon when needed in group bible discussion or even in writing songs. In reality, what too often came into my mouth was the regurgitated remnants of the same long-digested meals of years past (pretty nasty image huh?). I was running on fumes and it definitely eventually showed in my behavior.
How foolish! In Matthew 4:1-4, when tempted by Satan, Jesus talks about the folly of valuing physical food over spiritual nourishment. He says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). In this chapter, Jesus demonstrates that God’s word is necessary fuel that allows us to be able to please God. I’m thankful that over the past 6 months especially God has given me a renewed hunger for Scripture because in actuality I can’t live without it! And I know I deserve no credit for this because, on my own, I lack the discipline to study the often challenging pages of the Bible. Indeed, it is a testament to God’s faithfulness and commitment to finishing the work started in me years ago (Philippians 1:6). This is what Paul tells the Philippians in verse 2:13, that not only the ability to do right, but also the very desire (“will”) to do it comes from God. Let’s pray for each other that we might have a (re)new(ed) appetite for God’s word and also challenge each other to feed regularly even if we don’t necessarily feel that hunger right now. Running on fumes can only get us so far
Am I alone in this? Can anyone else relate to idea of “running on fumes?” How did you/do you deal with this?