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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Empty Wells


Are you a fill-the-bottom-half of your gas tank or or fill-the-top-half kind of person? As a teenager and broke young parent, I was a fill-the-bottom-half.  I knew exactly how many miles I could drive after that little green light came on!

In the recent years I have become a fill-the-top-half person because of safety, and fact that I had a van that gas tank indicator was broken! I never knew exactly how much was in my tank, and you never know when a winter storm will hit and you need to be prepared. It also only takes 1 or 2 times running out of gas to realize how much easier it is to fill the top half. 

I told a friend recently I feel like my emotional "tank" is on empty and I'm struggling to barely fill the bottom half. We all know 2020 is a "running on fumes" year.  

I am not going to explain why I'm empty (it can be said with just a simple "2020"), but God is reminding me again how to "fill my tank" when a storm is happening.

My last "running on fumes" season was when I had infant twins, and very low financial resources,  We were young broke parents, I had no friends who were also moms due to having babies at 23 and attending a church with no other moms.

I can feel the emotional echoes of that time, feeling isolated and drained, without built-in ways to meet my needs.  During that time I had to fight hard to find connection, and I slowly healed and got to the point where I was filling the "top half" of my emotional tank.

Switching from modern gas-tank metaphor to a more biblical water-bucket metaphor, God has often warned me of empty wells. I know they don't work through experience, but I keep finding my wandering back to quench my thirst in wells that do not satisfy. 

Why do I return to something that has proven unreliable in the long run? I return because these wells promise to satiate my thirst, and they require very little from me. 

They promise distractions from the pain, or momentary pleasure, and they give both. They promise a numbing feeling that sometimes we all desperately crave in a broken world.

Empty wells also promise self sufficiency, with very little vulnerability. I get to pull up the bucket, and in that I feel in control. Almost all my empty wells are in my control, and are one-way: no true intimacy is required.

But they do not satiate my need for peace. I thirst for unconditional love, for genuine relationships, and for someone to see my heart without fear of them hurting me. Empty wells of this world do not meet these needs.

Again, why do I keep returning when I know that my thirst will not be met? I return to these empty well when I do not trust in the sufficiency of His grace to slake my thirst. I do not trust in His unconditional love, His genuine want for relationship with me, and His ability to see my heart without hurting me.

Our enemy doesn't have to destroy us completely if he can slowly distract us. Distractions from the true well of Life are just promising enough that we mistake them for life giving, people and things that take more than they can ever give. 

What is an empty well that God is calling you to walk away from in 2020?  Procrastination, social media, dysfunctional relationships, and world powers all might make the list.

And what wells is He calling you to? Intentional relationships? Productive living, not just busyness that numbs? Spiritual discipline to renew your mind?

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:38

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