Saturday, June 10, 2017

Full Life Versus Fulfillment

Have you ever had numerous relationships but still felt lonely? Have you been in a crowd yet felt alone? How many times has your life been full yet felt empty? I've been learning through this walk that emptiness and loneliness aren't about how many friends you have or how many things you have going on, but more about the meaning of them. There is a difference between having a full life and having fullness.

Relationships can become obligations when they lack depth and authenticity. Fulfillment doesn't come with busyness but with fullness; it's about quality rather than quantity. No matter how many friends we have, or accomplishments we achieve, if God's hand isn't in it, they will not satisfy us. We will still crave being filled;  the holes will not be filled and we will not feel fulfilled.

I went through it, and still go through it at times. Sometimes seeking God's will becomes seeking His approval of one's own will when we're not careful. Sometimes, even the service we do for God can become wrapped in the wrong feelings and desires. It's never intentional, and can be very hard to identify. Doing that puts one on a road to burn out. And then of course saying yes to everything, doesn't mean saying yes to the right things. When we do things in and through God, we work in His strength and not our own. What a difference that makes!

Now, I always try to put things in the Lord's hands. It is amazing how things will fall into place when they are God's will. A perfect example is our mental illness ministry. I lived in a few states and was in three churches before it came to fruition. I worked so hard at it, and then when I got remarried, my husband and I worked hard at getting it in place. We met so many obstacles. It became clear that the timing wasn't right. When we moved to Georgia, the church we came to was looking to put a special needs ministry in place and the minister personally helped us get it in place. It is still going almost 6 years later.

God loves us for who we are, which is who He created us to be. One of the gifts of being filled is not having to fit in. If anyone had told me that need would go away, I would not have believed them. As one who felt like an outsider a good part of my life, I no longer feel that way. The need to fit in and feel like I belong is no longer there. When that happens, we are truly free to be ourselves, and can be comfortable in our own skins! It is when we can be authentic and real that we truly feel loved by others, because we are loved for who we really are. We are also free to set boundaries. For those who are not familiar with boundaries, it means drawing a line and sticking to it. I have learned to say a true "no" and while it doesn't bring me more friends, it does gain me more respect. God keeps showing me what isn't important. I wish my eyes and ears had been open to this much sooner!

In order to be filled by God, we have to be empty of the shallow, meaningless things that don't satisfy and pull us away from Him. Something I put in my prayers is for God to empty me out, cleanse me and fill me. I have found to be filled by Him, is to truly be filled. He is the only one who can fill the holes and make us whole. Then we come to our relationships healthier instead of needy and also attract others who are healthy. The need to be busy and fill my time so much isn't there anymore. It sure used to be. Is there anyone who had to learn to be still? I sure did. Now it comes easily.

In order to hold on to Jesus, we have to let go of the meaningless things we are holding on to. For me, it took a while to see that I was holding on to other things that were not helping me or my walk with the Lord. By true introspection and prayer, I was able to see these things and God has helped me to change them. Going through a very uncertain time in my life, holding on to Him and truly being filled by Him has been making a huge difference!

I pray for you, that God will show you the empty things that you hold on to as well; that He will empty you of those things, cleanse you and fill you with Him! I pray that you will be whole, that you will let go and hold on to Him!  I pray that you will know how loved and treasured you are for the unique individual that you were made to be, and that you will start loving that person too! Additionally, I pray that you will experience the freedom and peace that comes with truly being filled!