Stories that Matter

Running on Empty


It was one of those nights last night. Sporadic sleep. Sound one minute, wide awake the next. It’s something I’ve learned to live with over the last couple of years, but it isn’t easy. Fortunately, I don’t have to be out the door at o’dark thirty, so when I have one of those nights, I do have the luxury of trying to catch an extra hour or two of sleep.

This morning the house phone began to ring at 6:50 a.m.

We’re having some work done at the house, and here was the crew, wanting to be let in at 6 freaking 50 in the morning!! WHAT???  I pulled on clothes and grumbled down the stairs. Let them in and grumbled some more. And by grumbled I mean . . . you know. I was not a happy camper.


I suppose I could have headed back upstairs to bed. But I knew I’d probably sleep far too long and I had things to do. So I fixed a coffee and opened my laptop. And that’s when it happened.

“Helloooo . . .”

No, it wasn’t one of the work men in my house. I knew exactly Who it was. I sighed deep and carried on with my mindless scrolling of the facebook.

“Seriously? You’re gonna sit there and ignore me?”

This is how God and I converse most of the time. He’s often way more sarcastic than I am. But He’s also way more loving and forgiving. So there’s that. But I knew this was coming. And I guess He figured waking me up at the crack of dawn was a good way to get my attention. Well, okay, I exaggerate. It wasn’t exactly the crack of dawn, that would have been, like, five in the morning, I guess, but in my world it was pretty close.

“So, how’s it going? Long time no talk.”

“Um. Yeah. It’s going.” More coffee is needed at this point. “Besides, you’re God. You know exactly  how it’s going.”

I imagine a God-sized grin here. “Mmm. So true. But indulge me.”

This was not a fun conversation. Then again, the necessary ones never are.

Because my worry list is very long and my grateful list is running to catch up. And somehow in all the flurry, I figured I could do it all. On. My. Own.


God never laughs at me, but He does point out the obvious.

That sometimes I can be an idiot. Sometimes, worrying about who said what, Amazon rankings, word count and what’s for dinner (okay, I rarely worry about what’s for dinner) and what comes next months from now, take up way too much of my time and . . . really??

“So that’s the gist. Why do I do this to myself?”

“Because you’re still holding on to things that don’t belong to you anymore. Just guessing.”

Okay. Ouch.

Rejection. Feeling Less Than. Left Out. Fear of FAILURE. What about that one, eh? Huge. All this junk. How many times over the years do I catch and release? You know? Wouldn’t it be nice to just let all that go and be done with it? For good?

Well, between us, I suspect my stubborn nature will put up a fight. But imagine the freedom I might find if I finally free myself of those old ghosts. And as if all that wasn’t enough . . .

“How do you expect to keep pouring out, writing stories of hope and faith and healing, when you’re not taking any in?”

Maybe you’ve heard that before. I think it’s a little too familiar. But that’s what I do. I run on empty. All. The. Time.

And it has to stop.

Because I cannot write from a place of authenticity if I’m not able to go there. 

I cannot write in freedom if I’m not willing to experience that reality. 

And those truths hit hard.

Especially at 7 in the morning on little sleep.

But here’s the thing about God. I may not always like what He has to say, but He is always right.

So I listened. I accepted. And I’m doing something about it. Because we were never meant to travel this road alone. We are meant for so much more. Don’t you agree?

Does any of this resonate with you this morning? Maybe you’re running on empty too. Maybe you need some encouragement.

I would love to know I’m not the only one who sometimes needs that early morning wake-up call. How has God been speaking to you lately?

Let’s talk.




  1. Karen deBlieck on September 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Thank you for this! I always appreciate your frankness, honesty, and yes, even your snarkiness. 🙂 Although I rarely post. I struggle with this all the time. In my life before Jesus it was how I survived day after day. It’s a hard habit to kick and I’m thankful for your reminder today.

    • Cathy West on September 9, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks, Karen! I just knew I had to share this even though it’s hard, but it was an important wake up call. And sometimes we need those. 🙂

  2. sherribennettblog on September 9, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    LOVE this. Thank you for sharing – it’s exactly what I’ve been going through: living the lessons God’s asking me to share with others. Fun stuff. (She says rolling her eyes with a sigh and a wink at God.)

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