What’s in your tank?

I always tell people that my favorite friends are the ones who “dive bomb” me.  Out of nowhere they show up to enjoy surprising me.  When my friend, Dennis, showed up today, my day got better, and my load was lightened.  I told my friend, Dennis, that I needed some help finishing up a home improvement project, and he arrived just at the right time. 

One of my “growth goals” for the year is learning to ask for help.  Dennis spent the first half of his life building houses with his dad.  I know when I’m in over my head, so I’m learning to rely on my friends who offer their gifts and make my life work better.  After Dennis helped me put up some trim and coped a few corners until they fit just right, he asked me if I’ve bled the tank of my air compressor.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  He informed me that if I don’t bleed the tank and get the moisture out, my tank will rust out and my air guns will stop working efficiently.  Before I knew it, Dennis was bleeding the tank, and moisture was spraying out everywhere!  I didn’t even know it was in there.

It reminded me of a saying that my friend, Sarah Rowan, taught me.  “When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive.”  Dennis is a great teacher.  He’s taught me so much about building.  He’s a very patient teacher, just like Jesus.  He’s faithfully taught God’s Word to students of all ages for years.  But today, his lesson got me thinking.  How often do we have build-up in our tanks that start causing our lives to malfunction because we haven’t realized that we need to bleed the tank? 

Our tanks can get filled up with toxic residue that can wreck our lives, our work, our church, and our relationships.  Perhaps it’s one of Satan’s favorite schemes to take us out.  Over time, we internally implode.  We get full of anger and resentment and focus on all the wrong things in people, in ourselves, and in our world.  We let grief build up because we can’t make sense out of the losses in our lives.  We allow our tanks to get filled up with fear and anxiety, and we become paralyzed.  We start avoiding doing what God wants us to do and what people around us are challenging us to do, because we are afraid of all of the bad things that could happen.  Sometimes we overfill our lives for so many years that our tanks just wear out, and we don’t have the energy to even enjoy the people and opportunities that God has given us.

But God gave us the Sabbath.  It’s a day for rest, worship, connecting, and reflection.  It’s a day to lift the hood of our lives.   It’s a day to see what’s been building up in our lives.  It’s a day to release and let go of what doesn’t belong inside.  Just as we make time each day to shower and clean up before leaving home, we should make some Sabbath rest time each day before we leave home.  Time to sit with God in prayer.  Time to listen and reflect on God’s Word.  Time to release to God anything that’s built up over time so that it doesn’t gunk up our lives and relationships.  Since Jesus bled and died for our sins, it doesn’t hurt when it’s time to bleed our tanks.  In fact, it’s refreshing and liberating.    

My time of prayer with my friend, Dennis, was my favorite part of the day.  When he left, my tank and my heart were cleaned out.  I felt peace, love, thankfulness, and I learned how valuable it is to invest in lifelong friendships and to ask for help when I need it. 

What’s in your tank?

Is it making you bitter or better?

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