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An Empty Cup // By Molly Shanahan

By June 5, 2019Spiritual Life

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

I’ve heard this quote a million times, but it’s starting to really be a piece of information I need to believe.


I’ve always seen this type of person as selfish. Someone who puts themselves first isn’t taking care of others. They only see their own needs, and they aren’t aware of what others need. However, I’m beginning to see that this type of person is the healthiest kind of person.


Personally, I’m a 7th grade Language Arts teacher, I’m a Wyldlife leader, which means I mentor middle schoolers and hang out with them so that they can come to know Jesus. I’m a friend and a daughter. I spend the majority of my life giving to other people. This might be perceived as a good thing, but it has gotten to the point where I am exhausted and empty.


So, I’ve started trying to fill my cup with positive self-affirmations, friends’ encouragement, therapists, leaders, etcetera. If I’m in a particularly bad place, I fill my cup with too much Netflix, coffee, and sleep. I think these things are going to make my cup full again, but I’m always wrong. These things aren’t necessarily bad, but they won’t sustain my need for truth and life and love. They’re temporary fixes for a very permanent problem that will just keep repeating itself if I do not do something to permanently pour into my cup.


So, I know you’re asking, “What will sustain you? What will fill your cup?” The answer is actually simple, but I’ve made it all too complicated the last few months, years, and probably my whole life. It’s Jesus.


There’s a quote by Lysa TerKeurst that says,

“No person, possession, profession, or position ever fills the cup of a wounded, empty heart. It’s an emptiness only God can fill.”


This quote really sums it up. There are no actions that I can do or words I can say to myself that will fill my emptiness forever. God is meant to fill that. God is meant to heal my heart and restore my soul.


John 4:14 says,

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


This tells us that we are only filled and sustained by Jesus. Another one of my favorite examples is in Mark 6:30-32. Jesus tells His disciples that after they  pour into so many people they need to get some rest.


“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.”


Jesus knows that we need rest, but He knows that it’s a rest that ONLY HE can provide.


I feel encouraged because my emptiness and weariness does not make me weak, it makes me a human who needs more of God. I need to take more time to spend just being with Jesus and allowing him to fill my cup.


I’ll leave you with this scripture that is a beautiful picture of the place God has for you and for me.


Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd,

I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

For you are with me;

Your rod and your staff,

They comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

All the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord



Featured Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

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