I started a message and stopped. I erased it and started again—and stopped. I repeated this cycle for hours. I wouldn’t call it writer’s block as there’s plenty I could say, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Don’t get me wrong, the desire to write was there, but the messages weren’t coming from my heart, they weren’t authentic. Would they have been good, uplifting, encouraging? Yes. Would I have taught you something new? Maybe. But they weren’t coming from my God-given passion, from the place that burns to talk about Jesus’s Vibrant Relevance in our daily lives. And I promised to be real. I didn’t feel like I was keeping that promise.
I love days when I feel ambitious and cross things off The List. I love being productive. Granted, I don’t look for the end of my list—it doesn’t exist; I’m just happy with the progress being made.
But this week has been a battlefield. I’ve allowed allergies, migraines, and the again-ness of life to erode my joy and quench my spirit. I’ve allowed life’s demands and the “mom I need/wants” to wear me down. I’ve allowed the broken promises, lies, and unfinished chores to create a cesspool of toxicity.
I felt like an empty pitcher, and everyone was coming to me demanding a drink of water.
I complained to God:
- I am tired of being expected to be everything to everyone—my family, my friends, my mentees, myself.
- I need a break, rest.
- I’m so far out of balance I’m not sure where the scale is anymore.
- My plate is too full; things are slipping through the cracks.
- My temper…well, let’s not go there right now. I’ll just play the Irish card.
- I want to curl up on my bed and read a book or watch a movie!
- I’ve been spending time with you.
- I’ve been praying.
- I’ve been asking your Spirit to fill me. I have! But look at me! EMPTY! No fumes. NOTHING! What am I doing all this for; am I making any difference at all?
Hang up the streamers! Blow up the balloons! Mama is having a pity party!
And Jesus listened patiently, letting me vent while watching me hang up my decorations.
As He silently strode around taking it all in, I thought He was reveling in my color coordinating skills and the artistic display I had made. When He stopped at the snack table, complete with punch and color-matching cutlery; I thought He was trying to make His selection from the generous spread. I was starting to feel pretty proud of how quickly I got this thing together and how good it looked. Self-sufficiency oozed from my self-righteous heart.
Finally, He stood before me, looking down at the pitcher in my hands.
When His eyes reached mine they were full of grace and love—and understanding. “Yes, you have more on your plate than usual. There ARE more people in your life needing from you what I gave you to give. This is not by accident, but by MY design. This is to refine you for your future, to learn how to balance more than ever before. Yes, you could use help, ask, I will help you decide what to do.
BUT, Baby, when you come to me, you’re distracted. When you pray, you’re not seeking to connect with me, but to cross it off your list.” His eyes flickered to the pitcher in my hands, “Your pitcher IS empty. You’ve asked me to fill it, but you’ve not stopped long enough for me to do it.
“And if you are trying to decide whether or not you are making a difference, read this from one of your girls, one of your “daughters”: “ok so i never shared yesterday [in our small group at youth group] and theres a lot happening at [my high school] right now and over the years i’ve been giving the choice by my family to choose my religion and i just came to [youth group] because it was fun and an escape but this year all my friends left and i stayed because i want to grow my relationship with god where i’ve never been that close to him or seen what he has really done for me and it’s always been a struggle for me but today because of all the racist things happening at [my school] we’re talking about it in my psychology class and we were talking about forgiveness and how everyone is different and it just connected me with god so much and i’m so happy because i literally feel different now that i can see him in my everyday life:)”
I looked into my pitcher. It was bone dry. And heavy. When it’s full, it weightless. But standing there with it in my hands, my muscles strained to hold it up. Tears I didn’t even know were falling splashed on the bottom, adding tremendous weight to the vessel. My arms started to give way.
Then He reached out and took my pitcher with such tenderness I thought I would break. He looked at it carefully and began to fill in the cracks, mend the nicks, and plug the holes. As He bowed His head to bless it I saw the scars across His brow, and shame washed over me. Then He placed it back in my hands, “It’s ok, I still love you.”
My pitcher was overflowing! And it felt weightless!
“And Baby, one more thing. It isn’t for nothing. I promise.”