Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 29 :: How to pour when I'm empty

Throughout this month as I've been thinking on my topic "Made to Pour" and learning what it looks like to live a life of blessing, there's been a nagging question in the back of my mind:

  How can I pour when I'm empty?

Maybe some of you wonder the same thing.  Life can be so busy and we go and go, give and give, and then we're spent.  Good things can be so draining.

In addition, hardship comes to all of us in different forms and these crises cause grief and pain that make us feel needy, not ready to give to others. 

I've been there.  I experienced months of soul-neediness and I learned that backing away from some of things that I typically did to serve others was okay. 

Being a part of the worship team at church was a way that I used my gifts to bless our church family.  But when I was working through the news that Mason had Down syndrome I couldn't play the piano without crying.  It's kind of hard to hit the right notes when you can't read the music, and messing up the band wouldn't have blessed anyone.  So, I backed off of this ministry for awhile.  

When Jennavieve was born and I was juggling two babies and two preschoolers, I had a hard time planning out my grocery list.  The thought of entertaining people in our home was way too overwhelming.  It took forever for me to cook dinner for a few extra people and I would get distracted, usually ending up in tears at the thought of having to talk to people for a few hours.  This was something we had always done, so giving it up for awhile was really hard.   But we knew it was best for our family, so we put that form of 'blessing' on hold.  

Did this mean I stopped being a blesser?   I hope not.  I think part of living a life of blessing is just being a follower of Christ.  If we are seeking to walk in the Spirit, then whatever we do, will bless others because it will point people to Jesus.  

I liked what one person said as a definition of being a blesser:  it's bringing someone to a point of seeing God more clearly for who He truly is.

Maybe by knowing our limits and living within those, we're helping others to realize that our relationship with God and service to Him is not about how much we do.  It's just being in Him.  When I watch people depend on the Lord, I see God as a God who loves, comforts, and strengthens His people.  This is a blessing.

Blessing others doesn't always have to be about serving others either.  It blesses me when I hear people's honesty about their pain, and still acknowledge God's goodness in the midst of their suffering.  So, even when you're backing away from doing, you can bless people by continuing to live a life of faith in God regardless of your circumstances.  

Not only have the challenges of life left me feeling empty, they also make me feel like I'm a mess.  

How do I bless the Lord when I'm a mess?  I think it's pretty simple: I have to realize that my mess is where He met me in the first place. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)  "Bless the Lord...who redeems your life from the pit" (Psalm 103:4)  So, if I think that my mess--whether I made it or not--is a hindrance to blessing the Lord then I've failed to understand God.  He is my Redeemer.  And His love never fails.  When I come to Him in the midst of my mess, His very presence becomes the most precious gift, and He continues to teach me that He is enough.

Blessing others when I'm a mess?  Maybe a break from some forms of service are needed so we can heal.  

But the truth is, we're all a mess, whether we realize it or not.  There is nothing in any of us that is capable of blessing anyone apart from the grace and strength of the Lord.  We are simply vessels.  

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us...For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh...So we do no lot lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day..." (portions of 2 Corinthians 4:7-16).

The acts we do of blessing others, pouring out, will probably look different from time to time, but we can live a life of blessing by allowing the power of God to shine through us so that others see Jesus, even when we feel empty and in the midst of our biggest messes. 

This is Day 29 of a series:  Made to Pour, Living a life of blessing

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