Straight from a "Tank-full" Heart
By Lisa Elliott
A funny thing happened as I was about to write this blog. I was about to tell you all about a friend of mine. She began a practice at the onset of COVID-19 that I’ve been so encouraged and inspired by. Each day she thoughtfully posts five things she’s thankful for. She appropriately calls it her “Thankful List”. That’s not the funny part. But here’s what is…
When I computed the word “Thankful” I accidentally left out the “h”, which turned it into “Tankful”. After seeing it on my page, however, it actually turned out to be the perfect word to describe my heart as I try hard to wrap it around a few things.
I can’t speak for all of you, but in these COVID-days my tolerance-tank, my emotional-tank, my social-tank, and my positive outlook-tank can go from full to fumes in a hurry depending on where my focus is. I don’t even have to turn on the news to know that a lot of attention and focus has been on the “bad news” out there. That bad news feeds into my subliminal thoughts whether I realize it or not; keeping me awake at night and stirring worry throughout the day. In a single heartbeat my mind wanders to all the things I can’t do and all the places I can’t go and all the people I can’t see. Before I know it my typical cup-half-full personality becomes half-empty.
I recognize that in order to fill my half-empty cup, or at minimum, turn it into a half-full one, I have to not simply put my focus on the good around me, as if it were that easy, but be more intentional about seeking out the good amid the bad and finding ways to turn my blahs into blessings. My original plan was to offer you my own “Thankful List”. However, with my misprint, instead I’ve created a list of all the things that I’m working to be thankful for. Hence, a “Tankful List”!
I’m Tank-full for:
- Rainy, blustery, miserable days, much like the one I find myself in today, when I can bunker down, light a candle, and nestle under a warm, cozy blanket with a hot drink.
- I’m tank-full for changing seasons and the beautiful handiwork of God who finger paints each Fall leaf, and designs every summer sunrise and sunset, and spreads rainbows across a rainy-day sky to fulfill His promise or covers the earth with a fresh fallen snow.
- A pastor who feeds my spiritual soul with hearty meals from God’s Word when I’m feeling empty and that fill me up and encourage me to be a better me. (I just happen to be married to him!) I couldn’t be more tank-full for a faithful husband who loves me just as I am—no matter the season or the weather.
- The season of life I’m in as a mom. While my nest is feeling more and more empty, my tank is full when I consider the mutual friendship I have with each of my kids. I’m tank-full for the honest, heart-to-heart talks we share on a level that continues to deepen as we all grow through challenges and heartaches. I’m tank-full for their love for Jesus and the way each one is thriving in life—even if they don’t see it.
- Visits with my daughter, Natalie and her family who live in another province. My thank-tank is always filled to the brim as a result of the time we spend together. While I wish I could simply drop by to have a coffee with her or care for the kids to enable her to enjoy a long shower, I’m tank-full we get to live under the same roof for extended periods of time. (Just trying to keep it positive since it will never fully satisfy the longing of my heart to live closer!)
- I’m tank-full for Skype that allows me to be part of my grandkids day-to-day lives. Even though hugs and slobbery smooches aren’t available online, their smiles and laughter have a way of penetrating into my heart to fill me up. The thing is, the more they fill my tank, the more I need! I can’t get enough of them—and that’s a good thing.
- A church family that transcends church walls and provides a sense of community and belonging and shared faith. Friends who love me and pray for me and encourage me. Many of you, in fact!
- The joy of following a recipe to create absolute deliciousness—and that the grocery stores have a stash of flour again to enable me to bake to my heart’s content!
- The freedom to eat and walk and talk and laugh and cry and sing (even if it can’t be in public for now).
- The privilege of being invited to explore personal ministry opportunities that tap into my creative side. Including the release that comes with writing to express my heart. As well as a reading audience (that includes all of you) who support and encourage me in all my ramblings—especially amid these COVID-days.
As I consider my tank-full heart, I’m actually tankful for Covid-19. It’s given me an opportunity to spend more time at home, in my thoughts, in the Word, in my writing, in my kitchen, on my backyard swing, with my kids and grandkids over Skype, and with my husband who’s been forced to work from home. It’s prompted me to engage in activities I may not otherwise find the time for, contact people I may not contact otherwise, and self-isolate without excuse . My tank is full!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13, NIV, Emphasis Mine).
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org