Ever feel like you’ve got nothing left in the tank for anyone else? Ever feel like it’s been weeks, maybe years since you have felt full of life or just not running on empty?
Being a mom and a wife sure adds to the running on empty emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad to have my family, but at times it can seem like each person wants everything I have without giving anything in return.
This is normal… each one of us is looking for our place and to know we’re loved – but how can we figure out how to continue to pour out when we’re feeling drained, empty, tired…?
Bait and switch
My husband and I were joking around the other day because I was being stubborn about giving him a back massage. He poked playful fun at me and said that I baited and switched him. I use to give awesome back rubs when we were dating, now he couldn’t get one if it was a dying request. It was funny, but yet I saw a lot of truth in it. He’s right about the back rubs, not only that but a lot of other things I use to do too.
I use to give a lot more than I do now… Why?
I think we can all admit that while in the dating stage of a relationship, we are much more willing to bed and be flexible. Once the marriage begins, both parties, in some way change and stop bending so much.
For me, that reason was just recently discovered, actually more like revealed to me (God is good)
As I reflected on my husband’s words, I realized a couple things.
First – I’m ‘afraid’ that everyone is going to keep taking and nothing will be left of me – like somehow my family, chores, others… can take until I’ve been sucked dry – so I keep a ‘reserve’.
When I feel tired, unappreciated, overwhelmed… I stop giving to my family – actually I stop giving in general. I’m done – checked out. The bad part is, I don’t refill my tank, I actually don’t even try to refill it – I don’t express my needs, I don’t turn to God – I just live on the reserves. (fight or flight mentality – aka – fear)
Second – I crave recognition and adoration. However, when I get “thank yous” from my family, I don’t receive them with gratitude, I receive them with an attitude of “yep, whatever”.
Ugh, they appreciate me and I blow it off because of the first thing I realized – I’m afraid of being emptied. I’m tired, worn down and so I begin using the, what I think are, last drops of passion, love, giving, grace… sparingly. 😕
This creates a cycle: I’m empty → I stop giving so much → my family wants and doesn’t get → so they stop giving → so I feel more empty… This cycle continues and each of us is living on reserves – afraid to give more.
So what’s the solution? The more mature one starts first and finds the ability to give, endlessly, without expectation of anything in return.
We need to anchor our worth in the truth that we’ll never be empty -not even when we feel like it or fear we are close to empty – we never will be ‘really’ empty!
Our Pot of Oil
As I look for ways to be filled so that I can fill and find ways to lead while I feel empty I came across the story of the widow and her Pot of Oil.
There are some crazy eye-opening thing I learned while reading different commentaries on this story.
1. The Widow was on her last straw, no idea who she was going to pay the debts. She was empty, hopeless and lost. (I can relate to those emotions)
2. She was told by Elijah to get empty vessels. EMPTY… If I was her, I’d be like, what the heck are empty vessels going to do for me – emptiness can’t complete the task(s) I need complete… But she found them, faithfully, she took her already empty and broken spirit and went and found more emptiness.
We often pray that we are filled with the Divine strength and fulfillment, but are not empty enough for Him to fill.
3. As the Widow poured out only remaining oil, the oil began to multiply. so much so that she had enough to pay her debts and live out the rest of her life without any further shadow.
In order for this miracle to happen, however, she needed to pray with closed doors. We need to turn to God and take the time to build our relationship with him. That’s the only way to really receive the miracles of God’s loving provision. And, God never lets His provision run to waste or run out.
16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. – 1 King 17:16
Luke 6: 38 is also a great reminder: ” Give and it will be given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Always giving good measure – even when you feel pressed down and shaken – Give it all because as soon as we start holding back – our return is held back too.
Sometimes, we may enter seasons where we have to shut the door and pray for God’s provision every few minutes, but we need to keep giving – keep pouring out because only when we give it all will we be filled, will we see the fruits that we’ve planted in the hearts of those around us. ❤