John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
The Beauty of Being Empty
We spend a lot of time trying to be full. Full of happiness, full of love, full of a positive self-image, the list goes on and on. We try to fill our wallets, our stomachs, our closets and our time. I wonder though, instead of focusing on trying to be full, should we be working to empty ourselves? How can we refill with what is good if we do not first empty out all that is wasting valuable space inside of us? When I ask this question, I gain a better understanding of John 3:30, “He must become greater, I must become less.” In order for me to be filled with God, I must step aside and make room for Him to fill me. I must empty out all that is wasting space and make room for something so much bigger and better to change me from the inside out.
That sounds great….but what does it mean to be “filled with God?” When I try to make myself happy through making money, shopping, eating, etc., I am focused on a temporary fill that provides a false sense of happiness that only leaves me feeling emptier in the end. I find myself thinking thoughts like, “If I just had ______, I would be happy or if I only had ______, my life would be better.” However, it is only a matter of time before I am finding myself thinking these same thoughts with different desires. At times, we can be unaware of a void in our life. Poet, Antonia Porchia states, “we become aware of the void as we fill it.” It’s good to take a life inventory every once in a while and ask ourselves, am I making conscience choices with the way I spend my time, money, etc. or am I trying to fill a void in my life that can only be filled by God?
In fact, when I stop to think about it, I realize that it is often having “things” that cause me to feel empty! Just when we think we have the cutest shoes ever made, we see someone with cuter shoes. After getting the latest smart phone, it seems like the next day a newer version hits the market. Even our relationships can cause us to feel empty. People will, not can, but will let us down. As hard as we try, we cannot please everyone and we will let others down as well. I think if we are being honest, we would all agree that there are times when we check Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to catch up with friends and we find ourselves feeling jealous or “less than.” When we are feeling like something is missing, it is a great time to challenge ourselves to fill that void we are experiencing with something positive, and there’s nothing more positive than God.
God doesn’t want us to feel empty, but He will allow this miserable feeling so we will be motivated to refill and find happiness that we never imagined we could experience. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better or emptier before we fill up. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” True joy and true peace can only come from one place, and it is not the mall or a special person in our life. God can and often times does put people in our lives who we experience joy with and who help us through difficult times and that is awesome!! But those blessings are extras in our life and not what we should attempt to fill our lives with.
Challenge: Identify one thing that you try to fill your life with that isn’t God. Then, to help fill your life the right way, make conscience choices regarding the everyday, small choices you make. Examples would be the words you say, the music you listen to, the way you treat your family……and make sure to fit God in by talking to Him throughout the day and reading what He has to say to you in the Bible.
So, the next time you are thinking that being empty is so terrible, remember the empty tomb and what a wonderful blessing that is to us all. Take some time today to empty out what’s wasting space in you and fill up with something worthwhile!
Mat 28:19, 20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.