I’m so over myself. Some days it seems like the harder I try, the more frustrated I become. As my happiness slips away, helplessness creeps in and I feel like there’s nothing good in me to give. Do you ever feel like you should come with a warning label?
“Sorry! This machine is out of order and the contents are bone dry.”
I know you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now? Lacking, drained, numb, empty.
It’s all the feelings of inadequacy we try to avoid, so we fill ourselves with “to do” lists and busy schedules, preoccupying our minds with everything but what’s troubling us so much…vacancy. Sometimes we give more than we have, more than we’ve been given. We can carry the heart of a contributor with the reality of a consumer.
Remember the woman at the well? The one who brought her empty jug to the well in hopes of filling it with water. Her jug had to be empty if she wanted it to be filled.
Seasons of emptiness are created for filling purposes.
What can emptiness teach us? A lot actually…
When I come to the end of myself, I’m at the starting line to embrace Christ IN me. Some of the most powerful words I’ve ever said are, “I just can’t win.” Muttered with feelings of utter defeat, yet positioned by God with clear direction, I came to the realization that doing it myself wasn’t working. Independent women hate that feeling! Here’s the thing: He really can’t shine through me until I get myself out of the way. All those impurities of the heart can either be illuminated or eliminated. The draining of our heart gives opportunity for the strengthening of our souls. The only me that’s powerful and effective is the Christ IN me.
This idea of peace is a package deal. Peace happens when I allow God to be in control of my thoughts, emotions, decisions and choices. It means I must TRUST. I’ve learned that it’s an easy thing to say I trust God but a hard thing to actually do it. I’m hesitant to give him the most precious parts of me, not knowing what He might do with them. His ways are not our ways. He doesn’t think like us. He doesn’t act like we do and I’m the type of girl that prefers the predictable. You too?
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”Isaiah 65:3 He asks us to abandon our “need to know” and embrace the “need to focus” (on Him). There you have it: the more we empty our own thoughts, the more He’ll fill us with His.
When I let my guard down, God can come in. It’s about being vulnerable in the presence of God. Most people don’t like that word- vulnerable. It feels so unsafe and weak. It most definitely requires us to check our pride at the door and that’s a hard thing. It’s saying, “I’m not enough,” “I don’t have it all together,” “I make mistakes.” Vulnerability requires me to stand in the middle of my fears, failures, rejection and pain and fiercely proclaim: God is bigger than this. He’s wiser, stronger and still see’s me as beautiful. I’m ok with me, even when others aren’t. Do you know what I think? It’s more than ok to not be enough. It’s a requirement.
I must own my feelings and allow Him to own the results. Just because I feel a certain way doesn’t mean I am a certain way. I often feel defeated, but it doesn’t mean I am. It’s possible that the times I feel the most alone are the times I am most encompassed by His presence. The only way to know is to bring it to Him. I must be willing to give Him my lonely if I want to receive His lovely. I understand love the most when I have nothing to offer. I appreciate the victory when I know what it’s like to lose. When it’s gifted by grace, it humbles me to desire His fullness. Even if that requires my emptiness. Call it what you will: refining, remaining, renewing; it’s removing what doesn’t belong to make space for what does.
Emptiness forces one of two things: evaluation or exasperation. We can scream at our circumstances, “I just can’t win!” Or we can walk around them, observe them from every angle and see that we already have.
When we’re empty, we’re ready.