This phrase has been something that I have used freely to describe the importance of balance in one’s life. It is a phrase that is becoming more and more used in the world of self-care and mental health. Today, I would like to explain a little more what that means to me; but also I would like to open up your mind to help you define it in your own life.
An empty cup. An empty cup can be defined as many different things. Each and every person will see that cup and it will represent something different to everyone. It may represent a mother who feels like she has nothing else to give as she is tired and worn out. Her fuse is short, and the frustration and overwhelming schedules and chores seem to be never ending and loom over her. It may represent someone who is lost and don’t know what to do next in their life. A person that once had a career, a social life, a life of fulfillment and they are left now overwhelmed with medical problems, and daily doctor visits. It may represent that person who is in an abuse relationship. There sole reason for existence is to keep others happy so bad things won’t happen. Their constant state of awareness makes it impossible to relax and find peace. One last cup may belong to a Christian who walks the walk, talks the talk, gives everything they have for others, reads their bible and prays daily. Their schedule is full of servant fill activities. They pour out everything they have in service to the cause, but there is no joy in it. The more they serve the more they feel alone. Maybe your cup is a combination of these things, and maybe your cup is just smaller than anyone else’s. Maybe your patience and longsuffering are not as developed as it could be. Regardless of the reason, we each are different, and are each juggling different scenarios in life.
For me, the scenario was a mix of things. I was living the servant filled life, while I was overwhelmed with medical issues. I lost the fulfillment of a career that was fresh and new, and the demands of my family life left me feeling isolated and alone. Everyday there was so many things to do, and people to keep happy that I lost myself in the process. How does a person loose themselves you ask. Well for me that was easy. My life revolved so much around my traditions of faith, my children’s happiness, and my spouses needs and wants that I was just a shadow of a person. My home did not reflect anything about me, my scheduled had nothing that I enjoyed in it. My prayer and study time with God was all about conforming to what a Christian “should” look like and act like. My head was so full of false beliefs about God and what my role was to be in my family, that I ran around with an empty cup. My cup didn’t just become empty, it broke. I broke.
I stood before my family, my God, my friends, and the whole world completely broke. I was so broke that I could not function. The term pour from an empty cup for me was not about letting God’s grace be sufficient, because what I found when the dust cleared was that sufficient grace held me tight and kept me afloat. What I found was the false belief that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I found that if my belief’s didn’t match up to everyone around me then I was not a Christian and was going to hell. I found that if I didn’t live the perfect Christian life, then God would take me out and away from my family in the blink of an eye. What I found was a false belief of who God was and how he sees me. I found beliefs that everyone’s happiness around me mattered and it was my responsibility to make it happen and mine didn’t matter. The person God made me to be didn’t matter to the point that I must become someone that was perfect all the time and never made a mistake. I must be who everyone wanted me to be and not who God made me to be. I was lost in a sea of false beliefs that made my cup empty!
My empty cup brought me to the lowest place in my life, but it showed me at those lowest points my belief system was flawed and it did not line up with Gods word it lined up with the worlds view. An empty cup, in my book, was not about needing a rest from being a mom, a wife, a believer in God, or participating in Church. My empty cup was about me believing God loved me so I could love myself. I needed not to fear I was failing all the time, but believing that even if I failed, I was still worthy of love. That I didn’t have to constantly prove or earn my love. My empty cup was because I was spending all my time, energy, and sanity trying to earn and keep everyone’s love, when in truth that was not love at all.
My past relationships played a toll on me and my belief system. It messed my belief system up in ways that hurt me, but God broke my cup, then he put it back together again stronger and bigger than before. Giving to others will not drain your cup, but the reason why you’re doing it can! Pay attention to the pressures and beliefs that are driving us to that empty cup.
Today, I not only give love, but accept it also. I let others do for me. Not a lot, but I am trying more and more every day to allow myself to be loved and cared for in ways that I never thought I deserved. The balance in all relationships is important. You can give and give, but it is also important for us to learn how to receive love. I also take a stand for who I am, and who God made me to be. I have strong convictions that make me who I am. We all do. Modifying who we are to keep peace, to conform to false beliefs and worldly views of who you “should” be will only drain your cup.
Today, take the time to look inside yourself and state one strong conviction you will not compromise. State one false belief that overwhelms you, and state one truth about Gods love for you. Name one belief you are trying to live up to, that is not possible and not expected of God. These truths will help you see today a pattern you may live by, but also help you see what is emptying your cup!
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.1 Corinthians 10:21