01 Mar Fill Your Cup
Growing physically happens in the background. But growing spiritually doesn’t. We have to be intentional about growing in Christ. In this episode, I’ll be sharing the reason that we need to fill our spiritual cups and how we can learn to serve others from of the overflow.
Info from the Show
- How to take responsibility for keeping yourself filled
- Reading the Word for love, not just for study
- Avoiding the enemy of an overflowing heart: isolation
Links and Resources
- Pick up a copy of The Message
- Join the Girl of Grace Facebook Group
- Ashley Blog Post about the Importance of Rest
- Find Ashley on Facebook
- Find Ashley on Instagram
Please note that some of these links are affiliate links and I may earn a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase from this link. As always, I will only recommend tools and resources that I know, use, and trust.
Welcome to the Graceful Life Podcast. You are listening to episode five, and I am your host, Ashley Varner. I am going to just jump right in and really talk about what we’re going to be discussing all of March. Now, each month I have a focus that I like to kind of surround all of my content around. In February, we talked about the idea that you are called. I firmly believe that every woman is called into ministry. If you’re serving the lord, then congratulations. You’re in ministry, and so we really talked a lot about that and got into depth about how you can live out your life in pursuit of God’s purpose for your life.
As we come into that, we are going to be talking about, in March, growing in Christ, because if you are called into ministry, and if you are called to reach your world, then you have to be really growing yourself and really getting closer to the lord every single day. Does that mean that you’re perfect? No. By no means it does, but what it does mean is that you are consistently and intentionally seeking after him and wanting to grow in him. So, I really wanted to talk about this throughout the month of March, because the thing is growing physically happens in the background. You know? It happens while we’re living. Our blood is circulating, and we’re breathing in and out without even thinking about it. It just happens.
But growing spiritually doesn’t just happen. It has to be intentional. If we go throughout our days thinking that we’re just going to grow in Christ, because we have been in a relationship with him for so long, then we’re just fooling ourselves, because if you’re not moving forward, then you’re going to go backwards. It’s just like kind of standing in a creek or a river, where if you’re not pushing yourself forward, the current’s going to push you back. We live in this world that is so against God, and if we’re not intentional about moving forward and growing in him, then we’re just going to be sucked back by the environment that’s around us, and so especially for us women who are actively serving, if we’re not being intentional in growing in Christ, then were going to find that we’re going to become stagnant, and nobody wants to have that.
In this episode, we’re going to be talking about staying filled, because especially whenever you’re consistently pouring into other people, you have to be poured into. A lot of times we get this misconception that it’s someone else’s job to pour into us. It’s the worship leader’s job to sing the songs that really sing to our heart, or it’s the pastor’s job to speak consistently into our minds, or the podcast that we’re listening to, or whatever it is, or our parents, or the mentors that we have in our lives, but really it’s up to us. It’s up to us to go after God, to keep getting poured into, and we have to be intentional about that.
Living intentionally is something that you’re going to hear me say over and over, because it’s something I believe so strongly that we have to do. Growing doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t just, you know, we wake up one day and all of a sudden we’re this incredible prayer warrior. It’s not like that. You have to be intentional. If you are pouring into other people, then you’re going to be empty, unless you are being poured into. I’m going to talk to you about some ways that you can be filled.
The first is something that’s going to seem so basic, but I have found over and over that women struggle with this, and there’s no shame in it. It’s just part of the struggle and part of growing in Christ, but they struggle with really reading the word on a consistent basis. Especially if you are a Christian teacher and you are consistently pouring into other people and you are sharing in your teaching, it can feel like, “You know what? I’ve been reading the bible, and I’ve been studying for my class,” but reading the word for love and not just for study is something that is going to keep you filled. We can kind of get into the habit of just bible study for the sake of a to do list, you know, marking it off our list, marking it off to move onto the next thing or because that’s the time that we’ve set up for that day.
Especially if you’re familiar with the Bible, it can really be a struggle to find a fresh perspective whenever you’re reading. You’re reading the same story, or you’re reading the same passages that you have read for years, and it feels like there’s just nothing new and nothing fresh. I really want you to consider reading the Bible for encouragement and reading it for the way that it really speaks to your heart. One way that you can do this is to grab a different translation.
I know that for me I usually stick with one translation, but a couple years back I decided to read through the bible in the message paraphrase translation, and it opened my eyes to really see how God was speaking to me, how he wanted me to hear his words. It really just put it in a more related way. It’s not a translation that I use consistently for study, but it was really helpful for me to have the bible speak to my heart, and I would definitely recommend that. If you’re kind of a little bit iffy about doing that, then have both translations out, so that you can read more of a specific to the word translation, but have the message out and just read it for what God is wanting to speak to your heart.
He’s faithful, ladies. He will come to you. He will meet with you. Whenever you are reading the word, if you sit down with him first and say, “God, I want something new. I want words to leap off the page to me that I maybe scanned past before. I want to get a fresh word from you. I want to hear a new thing, the new thing that you’re doing in my life,” and he’ll be faithful to do that. One way that you can do that is just grabbing another translation, maybe reading the bible through an audio style bible. I know there’s several, like the semi-dramatic, dramatized translations that you can get really super cheap. I would recommend that for sure. I know I had my kids start listening to it that way, and it almost feels like a story. I think they read through the book of John that way, and it really makes a big difference in keeping you filled with God’s love as you’re pouring out to other people.
The next way that we can stay filled is by staying connected. The enemy of an overflowing heart is isolation. Really an overflowing heart is what we’re after, because if we’re consistently pouring into ourselves, if we’re consistently going to the lord, if we are spending time in worship, then we’re just giving from the overflow, and we’re never going to go empty, because we’re just giving from the overflow that He’s given us. I truly believe that the enemy of that kind of a heart is isolation, keeping yourself away from people, not cultivating relationships.
I used to think that I didn’t have any friends, and I would pray for a friend. I realized that it was up to me to be intentional about cultivating the relationships that I was already in. You know, I looked at the women that were in my life, and to be honest, and I’m not proud of this, but I think that I had a little bit of ageism that was happening in my thinking, because I thought, “Well, I need to have this friend that has kids the same age as me, and is about the same age as me, and is a mom like I am, and whose husband gets along with my husband.” I thought that was all these things that I had to have in order for me not to be isolated from people, but I realized that friends come in a lot of different ages, and friends come younger than you, older than you, and you can glean, and teach, and really bounce ideas off of each other.
I have a younger friend who is actually my hairstylist, and she always has great words of wisdom for me. She has a way of speaking the truth in a way that’s just black and white, but still has a heart behind it. She’s quite a bit younger than me, and I love spending time with her. She is a friend. She’s my friend. If you’re thinking that you just don’t have any friendships, then consider looking around you at the relationships that you already are in and then cultivating some of those, because you’ll never believe some of the gems that are right in front of your face that just a need a little bit polished and spent some time on that relationship.
I know another way that you can really not keep yourself isolated is with an online community. I have one of those free communities called Girl Of Grace. Right now we’re at about 700 ladies, but it’s a really a great place to give prayer requests, or share concerns, and give encouragement even. I post there several times a week, but I’m not the only one. There’s tons of ladies that are there giving encouraging words and sharing what is going on in their lives and what the lord have been teaching them. If you’re interested in that, I’ll leave a link in the show notes, so that you can jump in on that. I love the community that’s there. Sometimes we need a place where we can share our struggles without feeling like we’re going to be judged, and sometimes whenever we don’t know people face-to-face, it’s a little bit easier to be just more vulnerable and open. That’s always there for you to.
Another way that you can stay filled is to have fun. Now, this might seem like an odd mix in here, but I really am a firm believer that you work hard and play hard, so make sure that you have fun. Find something that you enjoy doing that you can do on a consistent basis. Now, my husband and I recently did this. I am definitely not like a super cook or anything like that, and he is a foodie, so he’s always watching Food Network and buying these crazy spices that I have no idea what they are, and trying new stuff.
What I decided to do is we logged into one of the like food delivery services, so three meals a week get delivered, like all the food gets delivered to our house, and together my husband and I cook that meal. We follow the directions, and we’re talking while we’re doing this, and we’re dicing, and sauteing or all those kind of words. Then we have this meal that we’re trying new things. We’re trying new foods. We’ve spent time together. The TV has been off. We just are enjoying each other. It can be something really simple like that, taking a walk every evening with your spouse, or instead of turning on the TV, you can do other things with your kids, play games.
Last night, my son and I were playing Old Maid. It was a like a Paw Patrol version of Old Maid, but we were playing that together, and just having the TV off and doing something together. One thing that my husband started doing at the beginning of this year, and it still gives me a little chuckle whenever I think about it, because my boys are cray about Legos, and they have so many Legos. They have all of these, like the little packages that come together, and they build like a car or some specific thing. Well, as soon as they built it, it ends up just getting thrown into the general Lego box, and so my husband decided, “You know what? I’m going to help them sort all of these out.”
I don’t think he realized what a huge undertaking this was, but we don’t turn on the television until after they go to bed. So, whenever he gets home from work, a couple days a week, he’ll pull out all their stuff and just start sorting Legos. Okay. Where’s a white one? Where’s this one? They have so much fun just doing that, and it’s just something to kind of … for him to wind down at the end of the day and spend time with his boys. Then I would also recommend scheduling time to get away, to refresh.
Now, my husband, and I, and our children, our two boys, we went on a trip last year that has really stuck out in my mind as one of the best vacations, because we had a destination, but we didn’t really jam pack our time with tons of stuff to do, so we slept in, and we took our time, and we enjoyed each other, and just really found a way to refresh and renew, so that whenever we got back home, we were just ready to tackle the year. We take our vacations in the fall, because our busiest time in our regular, like our brick and mortar, business is spring and summer, so we try to … and winter I guess, so we try to take that time in the fall and really recharge.
The biggest way that we can stay filled, you know, it’s good to have friendships and have fun, but we have to learn to go to God first. That’s how we really stay filled. We stay filled by going to him whenever we’re struggling, whenever we’re happy, and we can be guilty of going to other things to fill us up, to fill up our cup. I know for me a couple of things that I would go to, the first one was a big one, and that was food. I would go to food to fill me up, not just physically, but emotionally. If I was upset, if I was sad, if I felt rejected, if I felt like I wasn’t good enough, I would go to food, instead of going to the lord.
That kind of filling up never really makes a difference. It never does what we want it to do. Whenever we go to the lord when we’re struggling with something, that is going to keep us filled. Whenever we try to mimic what he can do for us with something else, say like with food, then we’re always going to come up short. We’re always going to be disappointed. Another time I remember I was really just having a hard day, and I found myself at Target, and I was pushing a cart. I didn’t really even need anything at the store, but I just found myself pushing my cart back and forth, and I got to the end of the store, like I was going to go check out, and I looked at my cart, and there was tons of stuff in there. I thought, “This is really ridiculous.” I’m looking at myself thinking, “I don’t even remember picking up half this stuff.”
I really felt the lord say, “This stuff is not going to fill you. This stuff is not going to make your day better. You think it is, but it’s not.” So, I thought, I’m going to be honest here, I thought about just leaving my cart in some wayward aisle, but then I thought in my heart, “I need to remember this situation. I need to remember.” So, I went back and kind of retraced my steps and put back every single thing that I had put in my cart, and I walked out the door without anything in my hands. I thought, “Okay, Lord. I’m going to trust you that even though I have gone to shopping I don’t know how many times, I have gone to shopping to make me feel better, or forget a bad day that I had, or just unwind, I’m going to choose to go to you.”
Huge breakthrough for me, because it wasn’t even … It’s not that food is bad. It’s not that shopping is bad, but it’s the place that they have in our lives. Whenever we go to that thing instead of to God first, that is when the trouble starts. That’s when the struggle happens, because we’re never going to be filled with those things if we keep doing that. Another thing that we can be guilty of going to is accolades and going to other people for appreciation, or recognition, validation, all those “tion” words. Whenever we go to people for that, they’re always going to disappoint us. It’s not that they’re trying to. It’s not that they want to, but they’re human, just like we are.
No one is going to validate you like the Lord can. No one is going to tell you, “Good job.” It’s not going to feel the same as whenever we hear him say, “Well done.” Remember that, that if you’re filling yourself with other things, you might be thinking, “You know what? I’m staying filled. I’m pouring into people, and I’m feeling filled up,” but it’s not going to last, unless we go to him first. Whenever you really become mindful of filling your cup, God is going to show you how to do that. Maybe it’s taking a walk and talking to him. Maybe it’s taking a bubble bath and listening to worship music. Whatever it is, God is going to show you ways that you can do that, and it all wraps back around to just being intentional, and not letting life pass you by, and really making the most of your time here.
I hope that this episode encouraged you, and I encourage you to stay filled and really be intentional about saying, “Lord, I want my cup to be overflowing, so that whenever I pour into other people, that I’m never going to go below that. I’m never going to be empty. I’m just going to be pouring from the overflow, so I can really do what you’ve called me to do in a way that doesn’t burn me out and doesn’t neglect me, and my body, and my mental thinking, and health, and all that. I hope that you enjoyed this episode, and I will see you next week.
Thanks for joining me!
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