Jesus in Everyday Life, Pause, Sabbath

Running on Empty

One of this Minnesota Girl’s fears is running out of gas and being stranded on the side of the road–especially in the winter. So when my gauge approaches 1/8 tank, I start searching for a gas station.

Unfortunately, I’m not as careful with my physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual energy. I push them as far as they can go, and then I push them a little further. I’m notorious for running on fumes until I’m “on the side of the road.” Worn through. Weary to the bone. Too exhausted to think.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

It’s not that I don’t notice the warning signs or sense the decreased stamina. It’s that I think I have more in me than I do. So I strive to do “one more thing.” To get all the things crossed off my lists.

Like you, I have long lists of things to do. Lists for my ministry. Lists for my family. Lists for my personal life. Lists that are never complete. Lists that seem longer than time.

Which leads to my biggest fear: Embarrassing God.

  • Of not being a good representative for Him.
  • Of not accomplishing everything He’s given me to do.
  • Of coming up short and not finishing the race.

Can you relate?

For me, this fear is two-fold:

  1. Not being the wife and mother He’s called me to be
  2. Not doing this ministry with excellence

So I push myself. Hard. Often to exhaustion.

I know better. I know these fears are ultimately anchored in the Enemy’s lies. Lies that speak to my fears. Lies I believe more than I rebuke.

And I continue to push myself relentlessly.

I know the various Scriptures that promise rest. The commands to remember the Sabbath. And I confess, I ignore them. I tell myself, “I’ll claim those promises when I have time. Besides, I’m a New Testament Christian, right? Those OT rules were for them not me…right?”


Last week I was running on fumes. Again. See, God had changed my mind on a few things and altered my direction in others and I was feeling behind. (I know, that feeling was another lie.) Then in my studies I “randomly” read Jesus’ comment to the Pharisees…and it stopped me in my tracks:

“The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people,

and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”

(Mark 2:27, NLT emphasis mine)

As I turned to review the Commandment regarding the Sabbath in Exodus 20, I knew in my spirit my perspective about rest was about to change.


Exodus 20:8-11 is a familiar passage. One I’ve read or heard more times than I can count. But there, tucked into verse 11 were the words The Spirit gave me new eyes to see and a new heart to absorb…

…on the seventh day He rested.

For six days God worked hard creating the heavens, earth, sea, and everything in them.

…on the seventh day He rested.

His work was holy. His work was good.

…on the seventh day He rested.

He was pleased with His efforts and satisfied with the results.

…on the seventh day He rested.

Here’s the kicker! God doesn’t need rest. He doesn’t need to recover or to be restored.

But we do.

And by His example, we can be.

Friend, I realized I lost my perspective about work AND rest.

In regards to rest, I viewed it as laziness. Slothfulness. A luxury I couldn’t afford to indulge in too often. And work? I saw it as validation of my faith. As my being a willing vessel.

The problem is, both of those perspectives missed the mark! I was walking in sin. I was in direct disobedience to God. My efforts when I was running on fumes were in vain. I wasn’t validating anything but pride. And my willing vessel? It was cracking up under the pressure I was putting myself under.

To make matters worse, maybe you’ve noticed this in yourself, the more I neglect rest the more exhausted I become. And the more exhausted I become:

  • The less I’m able to guard my tongue
  • My ability to think or function plummets
  • I’m no longer capable of serving my family, those I minister to, or God well
  • My drive to do anything evaporates

And if I insist on running on fumes

  • My immune system weakens
  • My anxiety increases
  • My inner witch rampages all the way to the other side of the alphabet

No bueno.

As I meditated on these Scriptures I realized what God wants is my obedience–in work AND in rest.

When I work, I’m to give Him my best effort. To serve Him with excellence. To do the tasks set before me to the best of my ability.

When I rest, I need to give my heart, mind, and body a respite. A chance to do something different. Something that restores my soul and replenishes my spirit–like reading fiction, knitting, listening to an audiobook, going on a date with my man, gardening, boating, hanging out with my family and friends. But most importantly, I need to take time to not just meditate on Jesus and His Word but the wonderful things He’s done for me and give thanks.

Sabbath Rest is a gift. Created to meet the needs of people. It’s not a luxury.

For far too long I believed the Enemy’s lie that it was. No more! From this time forward I’m determined to obey God and enjoy His Sabbath rest.

The other six days, I will give Him my all. To “struggle with all His energy that He powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:29)

But…on the seventh day… I will enter His rest. To be restored and replenished so that I can can get after My Father’s Business with excellence the rest of the week.

Blessings, xoxo


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9 thoughts on “Running on Empty”

  1. I think there is more than just slowing down, but that sure is part of it! And I’m on a quest to discover what it all entails…thank you for the prayers! They are needed and deeply appreciated. 💗💗

  2. I think we all are guilty of pushing ourselves. Since I have retired, I have learned to slow down. God is Good! He has led me to take time to “smell the roses.” Praying for you, your family, and your ministry!

  3. As I get further and further on this road God has me on I am learning more and more the NEED for rest. For Sabbath. For restoration so I can do the rest of the week with excellence. Oh the things I’m learning…I will share more next week and in the coming weeks.

  4. Thank you Cheyenne this was so very insightful. Your ability to be vulnerable breaks open my heart. You are so right on!

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