The drive from Jackson, Mississippi to Mobile, Alabama was nothing spectacular. Three and a half hours. Two hundred miles. Just a jog in our journey from Abilene, Texas to Tampa, Florida where Mom's home cooking beckoned us over the miles. But to get from I-20 to I-10 you had to make the drive between Jackson and Mobile.
The long drive got longer once we hit that stretch in the middle of the night. We made the turn south at Jackson with half a tank of gas. So while others were sleeping, I tried not to. I was driving. Scott was snoring. And I kept a sleepy eye on the fuel gauge. (Why is it the needle takes so long to get to the half tank mark then drops like the stock market to the empty mark?)
About 50 miles outside of Mobile we were nearing the red zone on the fuel gauge. Scott woke up. I said, "Smell that?" "Smell what?" he asked. "The fumes!" "What fumes?" "The fumes we're driving on."
Next moment we were fuming at each other, envisioning what it would be like for two young guys to be pushing a '78 Camaro through the Alabama outback in the dark.
Your family's tank can run low too. The signs are similar. You drag through your days. You sputter at each other when you speak. Tension increases as pressure mounts. The life journey becomes rough and the ride bumpy.
Whereas vision gives your family direction, values fuel the family tank. Values are what you most want to be known for as a family. Values are your "to die for" principles.
Jesus had them. He valued prayer enough to rise early, go to a deserted place, and pray. He valued lost people enough to not care what others thought about who he hung out with. He valued unity enough to die for it.
Have any values you hold that strongly to? You need some. Try writing down four or five that you want your family to be known for. Make them easy to remember. And then start living them out.
By the way, we made the turn onto I-10, gasping and choking right into a truck stop. We pumped 15.97 gallons into a 16 gallon tank. I vowed that day that whenever my gas tank reached 1/4 of a tank I would stop and fill up.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:13-14 TNIV).