You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

With all of the hustle and bustle of life, when are you slowing down to catch a breath?

filling-my-cup-title-800x1200Many of you reading this probably have a full-time job, spouse, and kids. With so many important roles you play in your life (employee, spouse, father, not to mention disciple of Christ) it probably seems like you have no time to pursue your own interests. And if you do find a little time, maybe you feel there are better ways to be spending your time. You think about the household project that is still unfinished or the service project the church is doing that afternoon. So many people feel guilty about taking time for themselves. But as the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” In other words, you can’t give what you don’t have.

When we run ourselves ragged trying to please everyone, taking on a million different things at once, and trying to do too much, we run the risk of burning out. There comes a point when we want to give more, but there’s nothing left in the tank. Everyone would probably agree that it’s a good thing to take time for your marriage relationship by planning a date night or by spending time together every evening. Spending time together helps nurture the relationship and increases intimacy. It is similarly important to have time to yourself, pursuing something you find enjoyable just for its own sake. That could be fishing, reading a good book, taking up a different hobby, learning a new skill. The list is practically endless. As I mentioned, it is often difficult to find time, but just like in a marriage relationship, time should be made. Enjoying something just for the sake of enjoying it will renew your spirit and allow you to give more in the very important roles God has called you to. Research has shown that having regular time alone spent relaxing or pursuing a hobby is one of the most effective ways of dealing with stress. If you have the time scheduled for later in the week, it will not only make it a priority and more likely to happen as opposed to saying that you’ll find time when you find time, but it can improve your mood throughout the week as you can anticipate that time.

John-10-10-DesktopDealing with the guilt of enjoying alone time is a real struggle for many people. But think of it like this: you are not only doing it for yourself, but for all the people and commitments in your life that deserve your very best. In order for our children to learn healthy balance, we can’t only teach them about it, we also have to model it for them. Taking time to recharge will ensure that you have the strength and the energy to pursue those things God has called you to do to the best of your ability. Remember what Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” Fill yourself up with the “good things” so that what you give is then an outpouring, an overflow of what you are filled with.

In His Service,


Jarvis Howe is the Director of Counseling and Family Ministry at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. If you are facing some challenges and desiring strategies to make positive change in your life, consider meeting with Jarvis to begin the process of finding solutions. Contact him today for an appointment at 217-423-6955 or at

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