What Do We Do When We're Empty?
Posted by Kaley Thompson I've been asking myself why I have so many "I'm completely drained" moments and I'm realizing I'm not the only one. Honestly, most of us don’t even know what being full looks like. This has been a foreign concept for our culture for quite some time. It’s as if we strive to get by on just enough energy to make it to the next event, meeting or appointment. And we applaud the busyness and craziness. But what happens when our tank is on empty and we can't seem to refuel? When we want a second chance but don't know how to restart? What do we do when we’re empty? Thousands of years ago there was a wedding that had this same exact emptiness problem. There was so much celebrating going on that the wine jars were completely drained before the ceremony was over. This was an embarrassing situation for the hosts. Offensive even. So Mary summoned her son Jesus and told him they needed a refill. He then turned to the servants and said “Fill the jars with water” so they filled them to the brim.” He then asked them to serve the “water” to the master of the banquet who replied "you have saved the best till now (John 2).”
There’s two important clues in this little story that can help us figure out what to do when we’ve run out of grace, inspiration, love, confidence, sleep, sanity and any other vital thing. When we're too embarrassed to ask for help. Or offended that God let us run out of something in the first place.
1. Nothing can come from nothing. Jesus is a miracle worker not a magician. He doesn’t pull out his Harry Potter wand and make things magically appear. He wants to transform something in our lives into a great thing. So when we pray for supernatural energizer bunny endurance and don’t sleep enough, don’t be surprised when we find ourselves exhausted and burnt out. We're frustrated that we keep making bad decisions because we pray for wisdom. But how can we if we never ask advice or learn anything new? We have to give ourselves a rest day or a counseling session or anything at all and say “Hey Jesus! Transform this something into a better thing.” He can work with that.
2. Fill it to the brim. The servants found the secret to fulfillment. When Jesus told the them to fill the jars with water they poured and poured until they were about to overflow. In a moment, they grasped a concept that can take a lifetime to understand- if we want to experience a miracle, we must make the most of our moments. We have to take the time to fill ourselves all the way to the top. No more of this half-way, running-on-empty mess. Sit. Be. Rejoice in the small. Give ourselves enough time to get full in that space that we’ve felt drained dry. Then bring as much Jesus into those replenishing moments as we can. He can evolve our effort to fill our emptiness into something whole and holy.
This will take time. Moments of breathing enough to even believe in a miracle. But if you'll give God something to work with and fill yourself to the brim with expectation, he can make your water become wine. Rock bottom become a mountain top. Hurting give way to healing. And brokenness souls become beautiful stories. He is saving the best for you.
Kaley Thompson is the chief storyteller at People of the Second Chance. She lives in Charlotte, NC and wears a sparkly motorcycle helmet.