Fuel for Thought
My eight-year-old daughter, Meghan, has – unfortunately – inherited my lack of physical endurance. When I was on the high school dance team, we would occasionally do aerobics (complete with leg warmers and scrunchies…aaah, the 80s!). Our instructor would inevitably scream as I’m panting and sweating and about to pass out, “JENNIFER LIANE, PICK YOUR FEET UP!” You get the picture. I blame it on my own inherited low blood pressure, but really, I’m just out of shape.
So last week, Meghan went on a bike ride with her friend, Alyssa, and Alyssa’s family. Thirty minutes later, Meghan knocked on our door, looking like the wilted, drooping plant in my kitchen (um, yeah – it does need water), and stumbled inside. Though I initially thought that she was just reacting from a low endurance level, I later found out that she had eaten only a half-bowl of cereal that morning and hadn’t had anything to eat since then, but she still attempted the miles of bike riding with her friend. After she ate a snack and rested for a few minutes, she perked up and was ready to go back outside and play.
Don’t we do the same thing? Just like a car cannot run without gasoline, I cannot run without “fuel”: those things which fill my soul, body, and spirit and equip me to keep going in the way and the manner in which God wants me to go. Just as Meghan cannot ride her bike for a long distance on a half-bowl of cereal, I cannot accomplish everything on my to-do list without my own nourishment, without taking care of myself and my own needs. I try to take care of everyone and do everything on as little fuel as possible – literally and figuratively. I run and run and run, and then I wonder why I’m so irritable and tired and frustrated.
I thought about the kinds of food I like – and need. Sometimes, nothing satisfies me like an original size Strawberries Wild Jamba Juice with Protein Boost. Yum! Other times, I just need a large bowl of Blue Bell, preferably Chocolate Brownie Overload (I reserve that for those beautiful moments right after all my kids are in bed). I love red grapes, turkey tenderloin medallions, Oreos, Chicken Mirabella, spinach salad, Honey Bunches of Oats with blueberries on top, peanut M&Ms…anybody hungry?
We need different kinds of food just like we need different kinds of “fuel.” I need time of quiet meditation on God’s word. I need to worship. I need to get my toenails painted and my feet massaged. I need a dinner out with my girlfriends. I need fun, silly time with my family. I need to eat breakfast. I need to sit and watch TV or read a book by myself. I need to sleep.
We all have different needs, and at different times we need different kinds of fuel to keep us healthy and happy and grounded. We need to know ourselves in order to know our needs, and then we need to obey those needs and fill them. How do we do that? Guess what – the God who lovingly designed you, created you and intimately knows every cell in your body and your spirit knows exactly what you need. So ask Him! Ask Him what kind of fuel you need at a particular moment to be everything He has designed and desires you to be. Then DO IT. Call a girlfriend. Make an appointment for a pedicure. Open your Bible. Plan a family movie night on your couch. Take a nap.
I know in our crazy lives as moms, that is not always easy or possible. But if we don’t allow ourselves the freedom to fill our own needs, we’re going to end up looking like that poor, pathetic plant in my kitchen. Fill ‘er up!