Monday, June 20, 2016

Can't Pour Out What Hasn't Been Poured In

So I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this morning (At Home With Sally) and Sally asked an intriguing question that has stuck with me all day. She asked, "Are you a person of resource?" What she meant in the context of the discussion was, are you a person who, when people come to you with needs of a kind word or encouraging thought or perhaps a word of wisdom, are able to provide that? I want to be that kind of person, friends. But as I've been pondering this statement I have also been weighing out my own heart and realizing that in order to be that kind of person I have to have my life spotlighted on the One who is wise and discerning and kind. I can't pour out what hasn't been poured in.

My husband has a bit of an obsession with iced tea in the summertime. As in, he will drink an entire pitcher before lunchtime and then wonder where it all went. Sometimes when I want to be kind and pour him a glass of tea, and there's nothing but the dregs left on the bottom, I will fill that cup as full-up of ice as I possibly can and then maybe add a little bit of water so that it will at least give the illusion that he has more than a few sips to swallow. But when the pitcher is empty it doesn't really matter how much I want to pour him a glass of refreshing iced tea. It is, at best, weak and unsatisfying because that is what happens when you let the pitcher run empty.

It's the same way with our souls. When we don't keep them filled they simply cannot provide the life and thirst-quenching hope that we desire to offer up to others. It has been a bit of a season like that for me the past several months. In a slow progression away from the things that really matter--the things that fill me up and keep me satisfied--I have become dissatisfied with life, and in turn, have only theoretical backwash to offer up to others. (Apologies for the gross analogy...I have a toddler and a preschooler so backwash, boogers, and poop are part of our daily discussions!) ;) But seriously, why would I ever want to have only that to offer up to others? My longing is to be a place and a person who refreshes weary souls, not somebody who sucks life out of those around me!

So what do we do when we find ourselves in this place of emptiness and lack? Three things come to mind for myself, and they have been objects of my pursuit as I seek to be filled up once again. First, though it goes without saying, we must purpose to drink of the Living Water. Jesus is the only one who can bring the dead to life again and coincidentally he is also the one who turned plain ol' water into the best-tasting wine anybody had ever had. So I'd say it's a safe bet he is the best place to start when we are needing a little kick to our dry bones as well. Second, we must make time for the things that bring us life. We were made to be creators and innovators and I find that it is often when we become stagnate in our pursuits towards creativity and innovation that we become dry. Perhaps reading, writing, beautifying your home, or bringing a garden to life are passions of yours. Maybe travel or photography or becoming the best you can at some new endeavor is what sparks life back into your soul. Whatever it looks like, seek out the beautiful and it will return beauty to your desert places. Lastly, we must make time for rest. Taking care of our bodies and souls is not a selfish thing to do. When we eat good things, give our bodies the rest they need, and purpose to live active and productive lives we don't just feel better, we live better and more fully and we oftentimes unwittingly inspire others to do the same.

So for those of you out there who are dry and weary, take heart. It won't be like this forever and sometimes it is us choosing to put one foot in front of the other on the hard days that will help us work our way to the oasis that will quench our thirst and restore our lives. One prayer. One thankful thought. One act of kindness. One choice to be present in the lives of our loved ones even when we'd rather be checked-out. If you, like me, want to be a person of resource...one who others can depend on for a kind word or thoughtful insight...than let's purpose together to work on filling ourselves up so that we are ready to offer up refreshment when another weary traveler comes our way.

Blessings to you my friend!

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