Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you're running a quart low

I can still see my dad back when I was in college with his head under the hood of my car. He’d unscrew the radiator cap and check the water, tug on hoses to make sure they looked good and occasionally say when pulling the oil stick out, “You’re running a quart low. Go to the service station right now and get a quart. “ That was back when gas stations pumped your gas and did things like clean your windshield and check your oil. My dad, however, didn’t want me heading  out of town to college without scrutinizing my car himself.

It’s that time of the year again, and I sense my heavenly Father saying, “You’re running a quart low. You need to stop what you’re doing and get your tank replenished.”

Last year after Christmas, when I suffered from shingles six weeks at the first of the year, I made a decision I would not allow myself to get under the kind of stress again that would cause diminished health. But even with all the safeguards I‘ve tried to establish, still I’m running a quart low.

A quart low of what?

In my experience, stress diminishes our joy.

How ironic that joy is the very thing the angels announced the good news would bring us, and yet the stress in our attempts to celebrate this good news decreases our joy. Mercy.

Nehemiah said, “. . . the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

When the joy starts draining out of us, we can become weak and vulnerable, so how do we replenish?

By taking the time to rest, to pray, and offer our gratitude to the Lord.

I can hear you saying the same thing I say, “Oh, I’m too busy this time of year. I’ll pray more in January.”

That was true for me after this past Christmas when I was confined to the house for a week because the shingles caused me to be contagious for chicken pox. I sure did pray more in January.

So, here’s my plan:

1.       Pray more now rather than later.

2.       Stop and give thanks for all God is doing.

3.       Be present in the moment rather than planning for another day.

4.       Try to stop being in a hurry all the time, one of my biggest challenges.

5.       Pare my list down to something doable rather than working off one that stretches into infinity.

 I hope this Christmas season, I can allow God to pour the oil of joy into my life and stay strong. I pray you will, too, friend. 

Consider Faith in the Fashion District for those on your Christmas list--the story of how One Woman's Life on Seventh Avenue launched a lifetime in ministry.


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