Running On Empty

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m an introvert. I NEED to be alone. The thought of making small talk in a group setting is enough to make me break out in hives. If you wonder why you can never get ahold of me on the phone, it’s because when I see your call I’m too busy hyperventilating at the thought of actually talking to you to pick up in time.  (Seriously, text messaging is the best thing since the invention of ice cream.) But I also have a need to feel connected. I need the chance to pour out my thoughts and fears and questions about life. So when a dear friend of mine called me the other day, I welcomed the time to engage in conversation with someone over 4 feet.

She called to seek advice and share her heart. The day before had been a rough day, with tempers getting the best of everyone. We both wondered if it would ever get easier. Would we ever learn to control our anger? Why is it that the moment we vow to parent with patience and love, our children suddenly turn feral? It’s easy to talk with her, because for the most part we are on the same path in life. She’s the one person that I know I can cry to, laugh with, and share my deepest parenting fears without feeling judged. I am so thankful that God places these kinds of people in our lives.

In our most recent conversation, she was sharing that her morning devotions had led her to 1 Kings 17 and the story of Elijah and the widow. We marveled at how the widow only had enough flour and oil to make one last meal for her and her son, yet was obedient and gave it to Elijah instead. As a result, she never ran out of bread or oil; always having enough for just one more loaf of bread, until the drought ended.

I think as mothers we can often feel like that. We give and give and give until there isn’t hardly anything left. And we fret and worry and wonder how we can continue to juggle marriage and parenting and work and friendships. We fall into the trap of thinking that if we just had more time to ourselves life would be better. If we had more “me time” and more luxuries and more help, then we’d be better at juggling everything.

Now, I want to stop here and make it very clear that I do NOT think it’s wrong to want some time alone. Or that it’s wrong to want help. Even Jesus needed to get away from the crowds. God created us to be in relationship with one another. The Church is a great example-many members working together towards one common purpose. So, no. I don’t think it’s wrong to need a break, or to ask for help.

But what if we stopped trying to do everything in our own strength. What if we stopped trying to pour out from our own empty vessels and instead went to God and sought after Him when we were feeling depleted? What if we focused, not on what we were missing out on, but on all that God has blessed us with?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t pour from an empty cup. But I’m finding that God’s love and grace never runs out and He gives both to me freely and wholly.

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