Running on Fumes


Brad Mathias advises parents to find ways to refresh their souls and to place the burden of parenthood on the Father's broad shoulders.

Driving without much gas in the tank isn’t fun. What might have been an enjoyable road trip full of beautiful scenery and pleasant conversation can quickly turn into a stressed out, nail-biter of a drive, anxiously searching for a gas station before you run out of gas. Running on fumes can completely rob you of the joy your drive might have held if you weren’t trapped with the fear of becoming stranded.

Parenting is a lot like that. Let’s be careful to avoid the long drives without making sure our tanks get full before we leave. I’m sure you can fill in the metaphorical blanks there. The question is how do we as parents keep refreshed during the “long haul” runs of our life?

I don’t have a definite answer for you, but I know what helps me. Time alone is my recharge, a bit of solo time with God in the beauty of His nature does wonders to my weary soul. Some people like to hang with friends and family and socialize and recharge from the energy and affirmation that others bring into their lives. Some like to go take a long bath or read a book and have a nice gourmet candle-light meal.

Whatever it is that refreshes your soul, make it a priority as a parent. If you aren’t taking care to recharge and refill your tanks, you risk making the parenting journey that was intended to be exciting, encouraging and full of life into a nightmare.

God has wired us all differently, so our needs and ways to recover our strength will vary from person to person. One thing that remains the same for us all is the need to be careful to keep the burden of parenthood squarely on our Father's broad shoulders and not on our own. Refreshing and recharging will only occur when we find a way to reconnect with Jesus personally and leave the heaviest of our worries at the foot of the cross, for him to carry for us.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
 The Lord is the everlasting God,
 the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He does not faint or grow weary;
 his understanding is unsearchable.
 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
 and young men shall fall exhausted;
 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
 they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
 they shall run and not be weary;
 they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40: 28-31 ESV).

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