Imagine being on a major intersection and your car slowly but surely slows as you watch the gauge on your gas tank fall below E. You are out of gas and stuck on the side of the road. Frantically, you call AAA knowing they have the assistance you need to get back on the road again. After waiting for two hours, the AAA driver pulls up to the back of your car, gets out, and strolls to the side of your window. You excitingly open the door and pop your gas tank cap — ready to receive a fill up. Yet in the midst of your sigh of relief, you find that the AAA man just ran out of gas after not filling up from morning runs. Now both of you are stuck! At this point, feelings of frustration and deep seeded worry fill your mind as you become more emotionally dejected now than when you scooted your gasless car to the side of the road.
This story is all too common for many who opt not to fill up the gas tank of their lives by waiting for someone else to validate their worth. When you don’t invest in your own needs, wants and desires you’re emotional, spiritual, mental and physical “gas tanks” will be empty. Grasping this notion can be a very uneasy reality for people who are not accustomed to doing things for themselves before investing in the lives of others. Understand that you can only do for your neighbor what you have already done for yourself. If you have not poured into your own value system by not reading, working out, eating healthy, understanding yourself (or whatever your filling process looks like) – then one must ask, “What am I really pouring into your life?”
In the past, I would take on projects for others in a heartbeat. I would spend endless hours pouring my heart, soul, money and time into doing what I thought they wanted me to do. I believed that if I did unto others they would pour an equal measure of greatness back into my life by validating the work I did for them. Often times that pat on the back, congratulations or job well done rarely or never came. In those moments, I felt used, abused and victimized. In my mind and actions, I sought revenge. My behavior lead to broken friendships and bad business deals.
I realized the need to refuel my life with a passion that would personally sustain me in the midst of evaluating myself in prayer. I accepted my call to serve under the agreement that I would first serve myself – allowing the overflow of my personal passion to influence and change the lives of others. If the validation of my value system did not come from those whom I served – it is okay, because my emotional tank is filled to the brim. I am a woman of value. I am a person of standard who possess many unique gifts, talents and skills. I am the captain of my ship and when you get on it is going to be a great ride.
I encourage you to take time to fill up the gas tank of your life by fueling your personal passions before seeking to serve others. Be you first! See what it feels like to take hold of your life and cultivate the person you are. In those moments, watch how your passion will positively impact the lives of others. As you grow, they will grow. Maybe the next time you see some one “emotionally stuck on the side of the road,” you will be able to pull over and have enough gas to carry you and them back into the arms of safety.