Bad ideas usually come wrapped up in pretty little packages.
I’m speaking, in obnoxiously broad terms, of the self-care-obsessed society we’re living in. The world has told us we cannot pour from an empty cup, and out of unrelenting exhaustion and desperation for respite, we drank the Kool-Aid.
I was right there in the thick of it, eager to be the perfect wife and mother, in awe of this new, quick fix; false faith in the idea that I was unable to pour into others what I didn’t even possess myself.
“I CAN’T pour from an empty cup, oh, wise internet!” I chanted cheerily to myself, confident, that in acknowledging my limitations, life would certainly oblige to them.
And then something unpredictable happened.
Absolutely nothing changed.
The baby still screamed to be held, and changed, and bathed, and rocked, and nursed, and tended to. She, apparently, never got the memo that I couldn’t pour from an empty cup.
My husband still needed clean clothes; I guess he didn’t get the memo either.
Dinner still had to be cooked, which meant groceries still had to be shopped for, which meant the finances still had to be in order, which meant my husband still had to go to work, which meant all of the responsibilities of home never even stirred from their comfortable perch on my shoulders.
In short, life went on, the same as it always had, and I was left standing in a haze of my own confusion and dejection.
“WHY?” my conscious wailed, “Why does life keep demanding more of me than I have to give??”
My epiphany didn’t come immediately as so many epiphanies conveniently do. It took several weeks of just sheer survival—dragging myself through the days, overwhelmed and devastated at the thought that these were the best days of my life as people are so quick to remind you.
I sat in the recliner one afternoon, rocking the most beautifully tiresome miracle I had ever beheld, tears racing down my cheeks, too exhausted to even cry.
I was at my breaking point.
I saw two options at that moment: to lay the baby gently on the floor and walk out the door or to fall to my metaphorical knees in prayer.
I chose the latter. If for no other reason than I didn’t want to wake the baby.
God, I’m calling out to you for some intervention. I don’t know exactly what I need or even what I want. But I know something’s gotta give, I know this isn’t the life you’ve laid out for me. God, I CAN’T pour from an empty cup, I’m all out of anything to pour. Truthfully, I don’t even know if I have the cup anymore. I’m begging you for something, Lord, please.
And right on time, He showed up.
Your cup is empty, daughter, because you are relying on yourself to fill it.
He had my attention.
You are relying on the means of this world to revive your spirit when it was the matters of this world that exhausted it. Don’t you know I am your strength and your portion? This world holds nothing of substance, daughter—THAT is why you are weary.
Headfirst into my Bible I dove, fervent to find more of His answers to my problems, embarrassed that it took me as long as it did to come to this obvious conclusion.
The world told me I could not pour from an empty cup. That in order to take the best care of my family, first, I needed to take care of myself.
The world lied.
In more verses than I am able to count, God commands us not only to serve but to rely on Him exclusively for the strength to do so.
All at once, I gave it back to Him—the overwhelming pressure that was never mine to bear.
I began calling solely on Him to uphold me, just as He promised He would do.
And then something entirely predictable happened.
I no longer pour from an empty cup. In fact, my cup overflows.