I was sitting in the corner of the bathroom at work, texting a friend and crying. The day wasn’t over for me, and to be honest I wasn’t quite sure why I was crying. As I told her what my day had been like, the emotions were strong and the tears ran down my face. Nothing too dramatic happened that day, but a lot of little things had happened. Things that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for (hence the crying). The crying clued me in that I had somehow become drained that day and my friend responded that I needed to fill my cup. I used to not be able to recognize when I was drained, and sometimes I still can’t, but I am getting better. Even though I was drained, I seemed loss at what to do. Thank goodness for friends who can remind me to fill my cup!
If you ever feel this way, it can be difficult to fill your cup, or to even know how. Here are a couple things that I do that ease the burden just a bit.
I first pray and ask Him to help fill my cup so that I can go out and do more.
Just like a vehicle, you can only run on fumes for so long before you just shut down. For some people, that shutdown can be pretty damaging to themselves and to others. It’s also important to consider the reason you are asking for His help. Sometimes, I feel selfish in the things I ask for when I know others are experiencing way worse. But in all honesty, how can I give more and help someone else if I have nothing else to give? If I am feeling overwhelmed at that moment, then I need His help and I have to ask for it.
I find ways to pamper myself.
A long hot shower, a bath, a few minutes of reading. If pampering sounds too girly, then pick a different word. Relax, wind down, “treat yo self.” You may have an extremely busy life with lots of demands and others depending on you. The time you have for yourself may simply be a few extra minutes in a locked bathroom. It could be taking a breath before you get out of the car or secretly savoring a piece of candy from your super-secret stash because other people in the house have already found your secret stash. Generally, if I am feeling the need to pamper myself, then I am probably feeling under-valued or under-appreciated, so I need even a small moment for me.
Whether I am thinking about filling my cup, doing it, or remembering it, the quickest way to drain it back out is to not be grateful. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t feel that what I have done is enough or I want more. If I think about how great it is that I can take those minutes for me, then the activity seems to stick more. You know how it’s not about the gift, but the intention behind it? We are generally good about recognizing that in other’s gifts to us, but we do a poor job of the gifts we think we are giving ourselves. In reality, that gift you are giving yourself to fill you cup is not from you. It is a moment you have been given from Him and you should express gratitude for it.
Talk to someone.
I talk to someone or to myself about something good that I am doing/working on/interested in, etc. This is more than commenting on a facebook post that you want to cook a meal that your friend made, but having an actual conversation. It does wonders to give you strength.
Do something with your hands and feet.
Garden, play an instrument or sport. Take a walk. Get out and use your hands and feet.
Christ also had to fill his cup. Read carefully Luke, chapter 5. It is chuck full of Christ teaching and helping others. First He taught people out of a ship. He then had the apostles drop their nets and after they were filled, beckoned that they follow him and become fishers of men.
Next He healed a man with leprosy, another with palsy, and many others who had illnesses. He taught the Pharisees as they doubted his teachings, and he taught a parable. All of this he did in one chapter.
When did he fill his cup?
Verse 16, right smack dab in the middle of the chapter says, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
That is how he filled his cup. He had to fill his cup, he was a man – yes a perfect man, but still a man. So he retreated.
Do not feel bad when you need to fill your cup, but work to recognize when you need to fill it. Remember, God works through us, so we need to have something to offer.
Fill your cups!