What fills your tank?
Here’s a memorable talk I listened to, at a retreat for leaders of women’s Bible studies in Williamsburg . The speaker, svelte, beautiful, rich, put a crystal water jug in front of us.
Into it, she put the keys of her house (in the best neighbourhood!); her mini-van (a Volvo I’ve long intended to buy, but quail at the cost); her wallet, medals representing her children (riders), a toy golf club representing her husband, lipstick representing herself, a rose for the garden, a chocolate ball for tennis, something for friends, a ticket for travel. On and on, it went.
And guess what, there was still room to spare. Tiny little niches. All that–the money, the beauty, the friends, the house, the trophy husband, trophy kids, the holidays did not fill her heart.
And then she poured water over the lot, and it was filled to overflowing.
By the Holy Spirit of God!
* * *
When my busy thoughts run on their busy tracks, I periodically need to stop, drop, repent.
And pray that one prayer that Jesus said would always be answered. Why always be answered? Because it is not in the Father’s nature to say No to this particular prayer.
The Prayer for the Holy Spirit to fill me.
( If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13).
* * *
Nothing else can fill me. The editor Ted Solotaroff who graciously read early drafts of my work used to say that a writers’ life is an exchange of one level of anxiety, difficulty and doubt for another. And throughout it, we need the same durability and toughness that got us published in the first place.
And that is the same in every arena of life. Roy and I now own a publishing company which is blooming beyond our wildest expectations.
When I lived in America, I read a psychological study which beeped women every 10 minutes. They texted an anonymous response to what they were thinking of.
What American women think about the most, apparently, was their hair. The second subject was money. And the third was sex. (Now if it were men….).
My hair only crosses my consciousness before I leave the house. The second subject does creep into my consciousness frequently now that I am a businesswoman as well as a blogger and a writer–and one’s continually changing daily pay-cheque can be checked on through the day on the internet.
And that’s when I need to stop and tell myself two things. One is a saying of Thoreau, “I am often reminded that, if I had bestowed on me the wealth of Croesus, my aims must be still the same, and my means essentially the same.”
I think of that most days in this Christmas season, when– thank you, God–people are buying the books we’ve published. No matter how many Santas give our books, my aims and goals for my life will be unchanged.
And I also remember the object lesson with which I opened this post. That only God’s spirit can fill me to overflowing. Not money. Not success in any sphere, even beyond my wildest dreams.
Veni Sancte Spiritus.