“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
It always sounded good in my head, albeit a bit cliché.
Until my cup was crumbling. Then I understood.
You know it’s true. We allow ourselves, other people and life’s circumstances to bore holes in our cup little by little until there is nothing left. It doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t one factor. It adds up over time while we’re not looking. We can deny it all day long. We even spiritualize it to the point of utter exhaustion, depression and crumbling relationships.
You see, I’ve always felt that life in ministry- whether as my sole vocation or in the marketplace- is about giving your life away like Jesus did. I still believe it. However like me, many have learned about balance the hard way.
Jesus knew when to boldly go. He also knew when to stop and walk away. He knew that people would drain Him dry if He let them. He knew the task set before him was daunting. He knew when to get alone and draw from deep wells of spiritual nourishment. He knew to invest in a few deep relationships, and how to discern between the unending needs of the people and his own. He was driven by courageous love, singular purpose and intentional connection to the Father.
Jesus lived a perfect balance.
He knew in the fullness of time, he would need to willingly and completely drain his cup by laying down His life. He didn’t allow life and ministry to bore little holes in His cup until he had nothing left to give. He kept His cup full of all the Father provided until the day He chose the cross.
He did this so our cup could always be full.
Yet somehow we think we can do it on our own.
Are we saying we are more powerful than He?
When life happens, we tend to get amnesia. We forget about where our strength, our hope and our very salvation flow from. We get in our own way. We erroneously think of ourselves as our own savior and sometimes even project that image on others (or allow others to project it on us). We are human.
A new year is a good time to remind ourselves to be intentional about regularly tending to our inner spiritual life and overall life balance. Let’s keep our cup full by keeping in constant connection to the Father, cultivating a deeper relationship with Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to continually transform us. In doing do, we will know when to boldly go and when to firmly stop. Our cups will be full of all the Father provides us for living, and we will discover a rhythm of balance that is healthy and life-giving.
In this New Year, let us spill out onto others from our already full cup, not of our own strength, but out of His abundance and provision. This year doesn’t have to be like the others. In Christ, you are a new creation. All things are possible.
Michelle Marx is a regular contributor to Soul Care Collective.