Do ever experience times when you feel empty?
You pour out all you have into your job, your kids, your spouse, your home and at the end of the day….your left with a tank that’s running on E.
That was me yesterday.
After a few weeks of running hard, I ran out of gas.
Literally. (insert eye roll emoji)
And sadly, I have to admit that this isn’t the first time.
When life gets extra busy and I feel overwhelmed by all I need to get done, rather than pull back, I tend to push through.
I am quickly learning that it isn’t always good to push through. (Like when your gas tank is GLOWING E!)
So many things were vying for my attention that I completely forgot to fill up.
My spiritual and emotional life can look the same…..empty.
As I sat on the side of the interstate waiting for my sons to come to my rescue, I began to realize the the pace I was operating at was not sustainable.
I needed to slow down.
God had been speaking that to me for weeks. I kept making excuses for when I would actually obey His words.
After I get done with this project…
When the kids get back in school…
I kept putting it off, until I was completely drained. Anxiety began to creep in and I knew I had overdone it.
We all have busy seasons, but we don’t always prepare for them well.
Rather than anticipate needed downtime, we rev up to prepare for the adrenaline rush….which usually leads us down a path to burnout?
What can we do when we begin to feel empty?
Here’s 4 Things You Can Do When You Feel Empty
It’s amazing how often I “forget” that I have this powerful tool in my arsenal. When I’m overwhelmed and feeling empty, the last thing I “feel” like doing is praying.
It almost feels like work sometimes.
But the reward from a time spent in prayer is immeasurable.
- Closeness with God
- Renewing of my perspective
- Refreshment for my soul
- Clarity on how to move forward
And the list could keep going on…
Prayer is our lifeline. I would even say prayer combined with worship is a key to unlocking our state of emptiness.
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:9-10 NIV
God is faithful to provide exactly what we need. When we seek Him, we will find Him. When we are feeling empty, we can reach out to Him, calling upon His name, and He will meet us right where we are.
We all need rest. Up until recently I always thought of rest as physically stepping away from work and doing things that help me to unwind.
And that is good!
But that’s not all it includes. I believe we need times of rest for our souls and minds, in addition to our bodies. In the midst of this busy season I’m in, I feel God calling me to slow down a bit. To not just rest my body from work, buy my emotions and mind as well.
What does that look like?
For me, it’s taking small breaks each week from electronics.
If I’m being completely honest here….that’s where the real rest comes in for me. I can physically step away from responsibilities, but still be emotionally and intellectually tied to it.
I’ll check emails on my phone, remember to “quickly” do something I forgot to do earlier, answer that important phone call I’ve been waiting for…..it can literally never stop….if I allow it.
What I really need….is a mental/emotional break from the work craziness. To turn my phone off and refuse to look at it for brief periods of time.
I’m not saying this is easy, but I’m determined to give my mind a rest from the stress. To be fully engaged with family and friends and allow rest to not just be an added thing to my list, but a time of fully enjoying life’s precious moments.
When I make room in my schedule for these times, I can be sure my tank won’t completely go empty.
Read the Bible
I love my routine. Getting into a rhythm every day is my jam. I wake up, make eggs and read my Bible. Yet when a busy season hits, my morning routine can quickly turn into work first, worship later.
And somehow the later never comes.
I usually realize I’ve been swept up into the busy cycle when I find myself grumpy with everyone around me.
I make demands rather than requests, overreact to anything that goes wrong and end up in a puddle of tears wondering why I feel so empty.
And the realization hits that I’ve been disconnected. I believe that is one of the leading causes of people feeling empty.
We disconnect from God and others.
Spending time in the Word fills us up. It refreshes our souls….our mind, will and emotions.
Jesus said this….
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
What can you do when you feel empty? Go to Jesus. He’s the Word made flesh. As we spend time in the Word, soaking up every bit of His goodness, our tanks will fill up.
What if you don’t feel the relief right away? Keep reading.
There are so many times when my mind can’t comprehend the Bible. When I’ve gotten to a place where I am completely empty and just can’t take one more thing….Those are the times I just start reading. If I don’t feel refreshed right away, I will continue to read the Word and the Holy Spirit will begin to move. He ministers to my soul in a way that no one else can.
Call a Friend
When we feel empty our first instinct may be to pull away.
We think we don’t have the capacity to add to one more person or thing.
But the truth is, we need others. Relationships are meant to be an add to us. The Bible tells us:
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT
When we are feeling empty, worn out and exhausted from life, we need friends to encourage us and pick us up.
Our first temptation may be to think, “I don’t want to burden them with my problems.”
It’s a lie. Don’t believe it.
The enemy would love nothing more than to keep us isolated during times of weakness. The truth is….when our friends come to us with their problems, do we think they are a burden?
Of course not! We are happy to encourage them and speak life over them! We are more than willing to help them in any way we can.
That’s what friends do….they go the extra mile in times of trouble.
**Maybe you’re thinking….I don’t have close friends to lean on. I hear that from many women! I’ve even struggled with that myself. So this month I’m offering you something special.
Each month I offer a Bible Reading Plan on specific topics. This month happens to be on Friendship. If you want to be a better friend, make friends or just understand what the Bible says about friendship this may be exactly what you need!**
In times of emptiness we can feel alone and stuck. But we don’t have to stay in that place! If we choose to seek God (praying & reading the Bible), incorporate rest and connect with others, we will begin to see our tanks fill back up!