I hate running on the treadmill, but I do it. I do it because I live in Colorado and would rather run on the treadmill than in the snow. I wasn’t expecting to still be running inside on May 19, but so it goes.

I was all dressed for my run. I grabbed my iPad – because nothing is worse than running on a treadmill with nothing to occupy your mind. It makes a 4 mile run feel like a marathon. The occupied mind makes for energized (or distracted) legs. I opened my iPad and found out that the battery was drained. It wouldn’t even turn on. So, I grabbed my cord, plugged it in, and started to run.

A few mins later, my iPad turned on.

I thought I was good to go, but after a few minutes, it shut off – even though it was still plugged in. It turns out, the energy being used to run the iPad is greater than the energy going into the iPad through the charger.

So, I stared at the wall in my basement and I ran. And I thought. I thought about the way that my life feels a lot like that iPad. I operate under the assumption that I can refuel on the run. Some planes can do that. They’re met in the air by another plane bringing fuel and they don’t even have to stop, they just refuel while they’re flying. But my life doesn’t work that way. I’m guessing yours doesn’t either. We are more like my iPad than the plane.

We must stop to refuel.

We all know experientially that we can’t refuel on the run – because the output is always greater than the input. That’s why Jesus was often seen early in the morning sneaking away to spend time his father. He knows that in order to love the people around him, he must first hear the overtures of love that flow from his father. It’s the same reason the Israelites practiced Sabbath. They took one day each week to stop. They stopped producing. They ceased from their work. They simply sat in the reality that the world continued to spin even when they stopped working. They stepped under the truth that they were loved even when they weren’t busy, or useful, or productive.

What a novel concept.

It’s not surprising that Jesus refers to the Sabbath as a a gift to be received, not command to be followed. “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” (Mk 2:27) Because we need to recharge and it doesn’t happen when we’re in production mode. It doesn’t happen while we’re on the move. The output always eclipses the input. We need to stop.

I run for physical well-being, stress management, and personal sanity. But, I’m usually listening something or watching something while I run. Maybe my iPad’s lack of charge was a gift. Maybe today I needed to think. Maybe today I needed to be reminded that plugging in to recharge needs to be a priority in my life. It’s a priority that I’ve certainly neglected lately. How crazy; I’m too busy to fill my life up so that I have something to spill into the lives of those I love – my family, friends, and my faith community.

I’ve been running on empty. I’m grateful that the black screen reminded me today that my soul needs fuel – and I need to stop in order to give it.