You Can’t Pour Out An Empty Bucket [week 7]

7/16/16

You don’t have to be an architect or construction worker to know that you cannot build a house on an unstable foundation.

It may hold for some time, but it will inevitably come crashing down sooner, rather than later.

I am a house.

The relationship I have with Jesus is my foundation.

I’ve been trying to build a house on a cracking, unstable foundation.

The house is crashing down.

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It’s so easy, especially on summer mission, to keep pouring out into others without refilling my emotional, mental, and spiritual buckets. This week I’ve found that you cannot pour out an empty bucket (duh?). I often neglect my own needs, thinking I’ll be able to grind through the tough days, but it turns out it doesn’t really work like that.

I struggle with taking the necessary time to refresh and refuel my tank, being that I’m addicted to busy and thinking that it’s too selfish. This left me feeling exhausted in every way and unable to be fully present at my job and mission activities. In fact, I actually got sick this last week too- Probably from a combination of starting a new daycare job as well as not giving my body a break. God even commands us to rest! Mark 6:31 says,

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them,’Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'”

There’s another side to this rest, though. It isn’t just for me, but for all those I encounter… especially the Lord. If my figurative bucket is empty, but I’m expected to pour out to others- how do I do it? I can’t… That’s why I’ve learned that it’s so so important to take care of myself by staying in the Word, drawing close to the Lord, getting the necessary sleep I need, and taking time to just be.

“If God is not talking to you, he’s not talking through you.”

My pride and stubbornness also shown through while I was determined to continue on with life instead of just being sick and trying to get better. As my friend gently reminded me, it’s okay to let down my ‘tough girl’ act once in awhile.

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A quick little nugget that popped into my head during this week’s Cru Summer Connect meeting was about the concept of “every tribe, tongue, and nation.” In Daniel 7:14 it says that,

“He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

So I started thinking… This must mean that heaven will be home to people from all over the world, who can speak many different languages and who belong to many different people groups. Heaven will be a perfect picture of harmonious diversity! (I don’t know this for sure because I’m not a theologian, nor have I been to heaven yet.)

But then I started pondering why our world seems to be so disgruntled about diversity. It’s no surprise that there are people of different heritages, tribes, ethnicities, races, tongues, and so on occupying this earth. We weren’t all created differently to build walls between us, but rather to celebrate those differences, show the love that we have because Jesus first loved us, and to be unified as one under Christ. (1 John 4:19Ephesians 4:3)

Instead, our world population reminds me of the warning Paul sent in 2 Timothy 3:1-5,

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful. proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

Scary how true this is…

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On Friday our team went to a tent revival held by a few local inner city churches. The theme of the night was ‘cease fire.’ It was crazy to hear them talk about the shootings, stabbings, assaults, and robberies that happen so frequently in their neighborhood with emotion, but not surprise. They spoke about trying to change the stigma of the 53206 zip code, but with an understanding that violence is no where near uncommon.

It was an overwhelming experience to have such a different reality then these people, but attempting to empathize with them. I can’t even imagine living in a house knowing that a bullet could go whizzing by me at any moment or that someone may readily bust into my house. While I understand that these same things happen in just about every neighborhood in the country, the facts about this particular area are staggering.

A simple Google search will tell you that:

  • By age 30-34, only 38 percent of men in the 53206 zip code have not spent time in an adult state correctional facility
  • In the 53206 zip code, charges for “drug offenses only” skyrocketed by 493 percent from 1993 to 2005
  • Every neighborhood block has seen multiple men put in prison
  • The homicide rate in 53206 is 250 per 100,000
  • ZIP code 53206 is the most incarcerated ZIP code in America

In no way does this mean that every individual living in this area is a criminal, but it does go to show that these people desperately need something to put their hope in. Something to bring peace and love to their neighborhood. It was awesome to see the churches taking proactive steps in bringing the neighborhood residents that ‘something’ which we call Jesus.

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And this weeks prayer requests are:

  • That I would find time to slow down and spend intentional quiet time with Jesus so my soul would be refreshed
  • For unity and peace among the people inhabiting this world
  • That the 53206 zip code would cease fire, for safety in this neighborhood, and that the churches efforts would be successful

Thank you for reading this week’s update!

God bless. 🙂

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