by Josephine-Anne Griffiths | @BooksTeaAndMe57
Imagine trying to water your garden with a hole near the bottom of the watering can.
I was all ready to submit my post on ‘Unconditionally Loved and Forgiven’ which I shall do at some point down the track, when it seems appropriate. There have been a myriad of things going on in the Griffiths’ household for quite some time now … mainly health issues both physical and emotional for both my husband and myself. Each time I find myself achieving (yes achieving) mental meltdown, I swear blind that this is not going to happen again. God spoke to me last night, telling me to chill a little. I heard His voice so loud in my ears, but He was only whispering. I remembered a post I had blogged a couple of years ago called ‘Running on Empty’ and decided to revamp it for today.
For many of us, including myself, we are constantly trying to do our chores with an annoying hole in our watering can. We take on an amazing workload and make sincere promises to lots of people, without considering whether or not it is humanly possible to deliver on everything. We become stressed, short-tempered and anxious, mixed up with a bunch of other emotions, not limited to sad, guilty, ashamed and overwhelmed.
Why do we do it?
I know because of my own health issues, that I can be up there with the birds, singing my own tune one moment, and down in the depths of despair the next.
However, I believe that we all can suffer from overload and mood swings; we don’t necessarily need to suffer from a disorder to over-commit ourselves. Often when we are happy it is so easy to take on the world, promise the world; but when we are feeling down or just a little unwell, we are likely to question our promises.
Some time ago I slept way past my alarm. My head was pounding out a tribal dance and I just felt so tired. There was washing to do, beds to make, dinner to prepare, study to do with assignments due, writing commitments and errands to run. As well as friends I had promised to call up, coffee dates that were stockpiling because I never had a moment to spare, a garden in desperate need of weeding, books I wanted to read – and the list goes on.
With me, it is all or nothing; I don’t like to be still.
As I sat there relaxing in my comfortable chair, I realised that nothing really mattered if I wasn’t happy. I was running back and forth with my watering can only able to hold a small amount because I could not fill it past that darn hole. I felt empty just like the watering can, and that emptiness meant that I didn’t have enough energy to help anyone anyway. With that emptiness, I felt so weak that I was barely able to help myself. Why was I so exhausted?
Do you ever feel so tired that you couldn’t be bothered to shower or get dressed?
Sitting in my chair I could now feel the stillness. The tablets and warm cuppa had begun to melt through my pain. Part of me was rationalising and saying, come on get up; there are chores to be done. Then once more I heard that little voice of reason – be still. At that moment it occurred to me that if I didn’t look after myself, then I wouldn’t be of any good use to anyone else.
Have you ever heard of the saying that ‘you must be empty to be full’? I heard it once before and thought – how silly, how can you be full when you are empty?
The point is that when we are so full of thoughts, ideas, plans, goals, and a plethora of things that must be done, we are actually running on empty.
We must take time each day to be still, even if we only have ten minutes available to us. That quiet, still time is God’s time. He wants to have that precious time with us, as much as we need that time with Him. During the quiet times, Jesus mends our watering cans and tops up our tanks, giving us wondrous energy to continue on with the other less important things. I say less important because what could be more important than making sure that we are properly equipped for our journey?
We simply do not need to be perfect and pleasing to everyone all of the time – we can’t be anyway because we are human.
…… and sitting quietly with the Lord is the best way to care for ourselves, to recharge and top up our spiritual tanks. So next time you are feeling overwhelmed by life, empty your mind be still, listen to the whispers of God’s Holy Spirit, and let Jesus fill up your heart with love, rest your body and mind, and feel your soul being filled with spiritual strength.
God , the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me— The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do. You’ve said, ‘Nothing doing! We’ll rush off on horseback!’ You’ll rush off, all right! Just not far enough! You’ve said, ‘We’ll ride off on fast horses!’ Do you think your pursuers ride old nags? Think again: A thousand of you will scatter before one attacker. Before a mere five you’ll all run off. There’ll be nothing left of you— a flagpole on a hill with no flag, a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off.”
Isaiah 30:15-17 MSG
I don't think there is anything wrong with striving for perfection.
But when we are prepared to sacrifice almost anything to achieve it, even our spiritual health, then it becomes a major problem.
What do you think? Do you often find yourself taking on too much, letting it go, then taking on even more ... the cycle repeating itself over and over?