Fueled or Filled?
"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:9-10 (NIV)
As a mother of three little boys my life was full... full with tiny people loving me, following me, needing me. I was never alone... and yet on so many days I felt empty.
My schedule was full of responsibilities as I tried to manage a part-time job, church leadership, and clutter and laundry at home that seemed insurmountable. Yet in spite of an overflowing to-do list, I felt empty.
There was a hunger for significance that days filled with people and activity could never meet. Rather than turning to the One who could speak meaning and purpose into my heart, I desperately tried to reclaim the life I had before children... the me I was before children... but it was always outside my grasp.
I know others feel this way too. Our lives can be filled with people, projects, jobs, and fancy planners or apps to manage them all, and we can still be empty on the inside. Our hearts cry in quiet despair... is there more to life than this?
But this was NEVER God's plan. God created us to be filled by Him. Without Him we can feel full but still be empty. Here's an example of what I mean.
I drive a Suburban. It's a workhorse of a vehicle, bought when we needed to carry three growing and athletic boys with all their equipment. Although it's over 10 years old, it still works great when it's got fuel.
But what would happen if one day I decided to fill my car up from the garden hose? It's right by my driveway. I could just unwind the hose, open my gas tank and turn her on. Can you imagine how much money I would save? And I would save so much time!
If I filled my car with water, and just left it in the driveway, you'd think I was ready to go. Now what would happen if I tried to take a road trip?
Sometimes, we try to do as women, don't we? We look really good on the outside. And we may even feel full. But what we are filled with will not sustain us. In fact, if we go very far, we will break down.
Here's the problem we need to be aware of. We have an enemy who tries to convince us we are full. John 10:9-10 says, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
This enemy has been convincing us for thousands of years that God can't fully meet our heart cries. Rather than turning to God to access His unlimited storehouse of wisdom, direction, comfort, and provision, we turn to idols. We seek to fill our God-hunger with what's tangible. Sight replaces faith and it's easy to forget our personal God.
Although I loved and served God during those hard years, I forgot He was personal enough to fuel my empty heart with meaning and purpose. When a move across country stripped my life from all responsibilities outside my home, I was desperate enough to cry out to God rather than fill my days again with more to do.
When He finally had my attention, God stepped in to the gap to reveal Himself in a personal way. My heart was finally being fueled, and in a way that satisfied rather than left me hungry.
I've lived life both ways - filled but empty, and fueled and content. Interestingly my life is still full with people who need me, clutter and laundry that still need to be managed and work and church responsibilities. But the emptiness is gone. God is the source of true fullness that never leaves me wanting.
Reflect and Respond:
In what specific ways are you fueling from the "garden hose" and not from the God? Ask Him to forgive you for turning to other things to satisfy you.
Pause in this moment to connect with God. Pray for Him to fill you with His wisdom, direction, comfort, and provision.
Isaiah 58:11, "The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." (NIV)
Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV)