A few years ago I had a 3 small children 5 and under, and a new baby. I was DESPERATE for God. I found myself in his word first thing in the morning, in prayer at nap time, in verses to memorize at bedtime. I was literally surviving on God and his word. Fast forward a few years. Life was still tough with 4 kids, but I didn’t feel quite as desperate as I once had. The kids were a little easier to parent. I wasn’t sleep deprived. I started to feel a hunger for God because I didn’t feel close to him. I started feeling stagnant in my walk.
I started to ache for God. Have you ever wanted to want God, but didn’t know why you couldn’t get there? I’m sure there are many reasons. Maybe sin is separating you from God. Maybe it’s something else. For me, once God revealed it to me, it became so clear. I was still desperate, still looking for refreshment and relief, but I had started to look for it in other places. Instead of running to my Bible first thing in the morning, I was running to my phone to check notifications. Instead of running to prayer during nap times, I was running to my favorite show. Instead of memorizing scripture at night, I was mindlessly scrolling social media.
God showed me that I had started allowing other things to fill me and to refresh me. But here’s the thing-I felt empty. I never felt refreshed or filled. I never felt satisfied. I was still desperate, but now I was also distracted. In an attempt to find refreshment in pinterest and tv shows, I found my mind being filled with the world. Voices that were not God’s started creeping in from the things I was allowing in. Discontentment started to breed itself in my mind about my home because I was busy wasting time looking at other homes on the internet. Insecurity started to creep in as I allowed images from social media to tell me that I wasn’t good enough. I started thinking a lot about SELF, and less of God.
During a prayer when I was asking God for help in getting close to him again, God gave me an image of an empty vessel. A vessel is something used to contain something like a liquid. Picture a large pouring jug. A big one, like the size of your body. When I was trying to go through my day, I was trying to pour something out of an empty vessel. That’s impossible! God showed me that when I started my day by spending it with him, in his word, I was filling up my vessel. Then, when I needed to pour something out of it, there was something in it to pour out. When my kids were fighting over a toy, if I were empty, I may get frustrated, fuss at them, lecture them, tell them to quit fighting. When I was a vessel filled up with God’s word, I had patience, a heart to teach and discipline to correct them, and help them see that God is generous and we are to be like him.
If I spent time in prayer at nap time, I was filling up my vessel. Memorizing scripture at bedtime was filling up my vessel. When I woke up and spent time in his word, again my vessel was filled. If I have nothing in my vessel, I have nothing to pour out. I am living in my own strength, in my own resources. And that is not good. My own resources rely on the flesh and I simply do not have what it takes to parent well on my own.
Without God and his Word, we will be THIRSTY. But God says, “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14
Pray and ask God to show you what you are running to instead of him. What part of your day do you look forward to the most? What ways do you look for relief, refreshment, and rest? If it is not God, start today. Take a media fast if you need one. I do. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier, so you can wake up 30 minutes earlier to spend time with him. It doesn’t have to be some big Bible study, just pray ask God to teach you and show you his ways, then open your Bible and read it. Write down a few verses from what you read. Think about them during the day. Pray them over your life and the lives of your kids and husband. Do what you need to allow God, the maker of heaven and earth to fill you. Allow God to fill up your vessel. So when you need a drink of it for yourself, or to pour it out for others, you will have something in your vessel to pour out.