when you find yourself on empty

photo-1489315828461-617973ab0942“I’m tired of hearing myself whine!”

This was what I sort of yelled at my counselor during one of our sessions.

I came in anxious, almost panicky. I was tired and overwhelmed and it just felt like no end was in sight.

Have you ever been there? Things just feel so overwhelming, you’re actually bugging yourself with how much you’ve been complaining about it? But somehow you just find yourself stuck in this place of exhaustion, frustration… just blah.

I’ve learned the value of rest and self-care and all of the things that I was supposed to do, and yet, I just found myself at zero. My energy level, my capacity, my patience… I had none.

So my God-given counselor listened to me whine, told me she didn’t really see it as whining at all, and said super gently, “…But zero isn’t really zero with God, is it?” (Insert my regular reminder that if you are struggling and aren’t seeing a counselor, this is your invitation. It’s a straight up gift from God.)

I know what the truth says. And I remind my soul of it practically daily. God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness [2 Corinthians 12:9].

But what I fail to recognize is that really, unless I allow myself to be drained of me, I’m relying on myself still. The world tells us that strength is self-sufficiency and independence. But true strength comes from dependence on God. 

If we dig deep enough, I’m pretty sure we’d find that when we feel overwhelmed or stressed or drained, it really comes down to discontentment. Somewhere, we are discontent with our circumstance, with people around us, with ourselves. Things aren’t lining up with the way we hoped they’d be. We aren’t measuring up to the kind of person we keep striving to be. And the truth is: that’s where we’re failing ourselves. We’re striving to be someone. Instead of relying on the One who created us so perfectly, with everything we’d ever need.

1 Timothy 6:6 describes contentment as a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God [AMP].

So really, when we find ourselves at the end of us, it’s what God intended all along. It’s in this space that God teaches us who He really is. It’s here where we actually learn about His sufficiency, His sovereignty, His goodness and faithfulness. It is not his design for us to be weary and worn down, but he uses those emotions to remind us that He’s been waiting all along.

Is this where you are? You find yourself with nothing to give, just trying to make it through the next few minutes – forget the whole day. I know it’s so tiring. I know it doesn’t feel like strength to repeat every few minutes: “His grace is sufficient for me“, but it is. When we don’t find ourselves relying on his grace every second of every day, we’re leaning on ourselves. And I don’t know you, but I know me. And I am not steady enough to lean on. I am not consistent enough.

But He is. So in the spaces that feel ugly and desperate, you’ve got to know: God sees them as perfect. In fact, it’s really the only thing God asks of us. He doesn’t ask for perfection or strength like the world asks of us. “The sacrifice. you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God” [Psalm 51:17]. The moments we want to shy away from us most often where He’s trying to lead us. It’s only there where we truly learn that He is enough.

So let’s flip it. Words like empty, desperate, drained; instead of burdens, we view them as gifts. When our emotions want to tell us that we’re failing, we will remind our souls that we’re in the perfect spot for God to move.

We won’t fall into shame: believing the lie that we aren’t enough. Because we aren’t. But in Him, we have everything.

If you’ve believed the lie today that being not enough is your weakness, hear me today: accepting that you are not enough is what paves the way to God’s sufficiency. You are enough because He is enough. You have enough because He has given you everything.

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