Sometime, eight to 10 years ago, I was made aware of a book by Gary Chapman, entitled, “The Five Love Languages.” It was then I felt like I needed to do a personal assessment of my own understanding of the different love languages. And it wasn’t until I did my own personal profile that I began to better understand how important it is to not only make sure my love tank is full, but how important it is to help others fill their love tanks.

Because of how this information has helped me broaden my understanding, I would like to share some of it. So, using the term “The Love Tank,” I want to share my thoughts about the love and attention exchanges that happen between others and ourselves on a daily basis that indicates whether or not we are love station attendants.

I want to begin by asking a question, and the question is motivated by how my daughter used to view her car’s gas gauge. Think of the gas in your vehicle. How low do you let the tank get before you fill it back up? We know that the lower we let the tank get, the more chance we have at not being able to get where we need to go. Now think about your internal love tank. How low do you let yourself go before you refuel? See the connection between both types of tanks?

At times we can get so busy trying to meet the needs of everyone else (spouse, children, family, friends, business associates, etc.) that we forget to check our own fuel gauge. When it’s too late, we crash (run out of fuel). When we find ourselves in this condition, we’re no help to anyone, ourselves included.

So what do you do? Take a deep breath and figure out what you need to do to bring your love tank to the full line. It could be as simple as taking a coffee/tea break, or turning on some of your favorite music. As you do, listen to your heart — to that voice inside you. Be honest with yourself. It may even be possible that you need to learn to love yourself again, or more. There’s an old saying that goes, “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.” If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then how can you possibly take care of anyone else?

So, you might be asking yourself, “How do I fill up my love tank?” I’m going to list a few ways that I’ve learned to keep my own love tank full:

  • Have a quiet devotion time in the morning.
  • Give a hug to my spouse, my daughter, my son-in-law, my “therapy dog,” and don’t be in a hurry; take time to appreciate those hugs.
  • Spend time journaling my thoughts.
  • Sit and take in a beautiful view of nature and be reminded of God’s glory. I do this in my sunroom, on my porch, my patio, and even in my office, now that I have a great view of a lake and farm lands in the distance.
  • Sit and read a book, or the “Good Book.”
  • Get some exercise.
  • Have a positive self-talk. Fill my thoughts by telling myself that I am “God’s masterpiece, beautifully and wonderfully made” (I really have to work on this one.)
  • Make quality time to just sit and talk with my wife with no TV, etc.
  • Give back by doing some volunteer work.
  • Take a nap.
  • Give thanks to God for all the wonderful blessings and grace He has given me, and then ask how I might serve Him more.

I want to encourage you to begin running on a full tank so that you can live a more fulfilled life. Begin by asking yourself, “How are some of the ways I might fill my own love tank?” Remember, once yours is full it can spill over into other’s love tanks.

It’s time for you to become a love station attendant and channel your and God’s love to others by helping them fill their love tanks.

— Contact Allen Stark at amsstark@msn.com.

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