Written by Kelly Elders
One day after an event I walked into the parking garage and the car next to me had it’s hood up with a woman holding battery cables. We all know what that means, car trouble. The woman couldn’t start her car and needed someone to help recharge her battery. I lifted my hood and we charged her battery. She thanked me and we went our separate ways. On my way home I stopped to have lunch with friends and as I parked my car my battery light went on. Here I was helping someone with their battery and all the while my battery was in trouble.The next day I couldn’t start my car and had to replace the battery.
Leading on Empty
Sometimes we are helping and giving to the people around us and yet we are living depleted lives. When we stay on the side of giving and never stop to receive we will begin to feel overwhelmed and even frustrated with people, church and ministry. Living on empty will cause you to move from church to church or position to position trying to find out where you feel fulfilled. Fulfillment comes from our relationship with Christ not from our position in church. Serving is all about others not ourselves. It’s not to make us feel better by making us feel accepted, forgiven or righteous. All those things are found in Christ alone. We serve because He invites us to share in His work on this earth. It’s an honor to be able to function as His hands, His voice, His heart and His feet. He wants to use us immeasurably and also keep us filled.
Who wants to help people succeed, grow and walk into their destiny if they themselves are not experiencing all of those things too?
When you have faith for yourself to win in life, it’s much easier to help someone else live by their faith. I wouldn’t want a trainer at the gym to train me if they had a muffin top and a donut in their hand. You can only take people as far as you have been so as you grow you can then propel others forward.
If you have been in the church long enough you have heard people say they can no longer serve because they’re just burned out! “Burned out” people are people who serve on low or empty. The easiest place to hide your emptiness is while you are serving. If you stop attending church people assume you are in a bad place or feeling defeated but how about all those people who volunteer every Sunday on empty. No one notices you are actually starving and serving at the same time. Soon you can deceive yourself into believing you are no longer hungry and instead revert to become hangry.
Hangry vs. Hungry
Have you ever met someone who gets hangry? They are angry cause they’re hungry. They can’t make a decision or they become easily frustrated because they haven’t eaten. This drives me crazy! I want to keep an emergency slice of bread in my purse for people like this. I can’t understand how someone can let themselves get to this point when they have every ability to grab a snack instead of attack. Yet many Christians are so hungry they become hangry. They respond to people out of their hunger and hurt others with their words and all because they choose to live on empty.
God has made Himself available to us for our every need through His Holy Spirit and through His Word. He longs to fill us and wants us not only full but running over. Jesus tells a parable in Luke of a story of a man who prepared a banquet table and everyone he invited had an excuse as to why they couldn’t attend. One man couldn’t attend because he bought a field, another just bought oxen and another just became married. People are still using the same excuses for not sitting at His table. They are working too much, consumed with all the material wealth or their relationships and have no time for Him. Jesus continues to tell the story of how the man sent his servant out to call anyone willing to come. God is filling those who hunger after Him and He is sending out those who love being filled while filling others!
The better you are, the better the quality of what you have to give.
Filled people spill over onto others. Have you ever met someone who can’t hold in a secret? They have to release it or they feel they will explode. We need to feel that welling up to want to tell others what God has done in our lives. We should have stories of how good He has been to us and how grateful we are for His goodness. These stories should spill out of us. When we live with hearts of gratitude we notice even the small things that God does on our behalf. We notice and thank Him for the perfect parking spot, the short line at the grocery store, keeping you from an accident and every good thing that happens, each time He intervenes or protects.
Today, choose to focus on the good things and continue to fill yourself with His Word, last Sundays message, a podcast and just conversations with God and as you are consistent you will feel the infilling happen each day. As David Katina said, “Good, better, best, don’t let it rest till the good is better and the better is best.”
More from Kelly Elders at her blog.