May: The December Without Jesus that Leaves us Empty

A friend made a funny comment that made me laugh out loud the other day. She said, “May is like December, but without Jesus.”  Of course, she’s referring to the craziness of Christmas and mayhem of May’s transition from end-of-school to summer. Both months necessitate long to-do lists, scores of seasonal purchases, activity planning (and paperwork!) and not enough time to be still and relax. As a result, we’re often left with gas tanks on empty – literally and figuratively!

Do we need to say yes to it all? Because, it seems our yeses are leaving us like emptied water balloons – completely void, with only stretch marks to prove there was once a fullness.

Are we meant to be containers?

I wonder if part of the problem is how we perceive ourselves and our purpose? I just used the example of a water balloon; something that gets filled and then emptied (or completely broken!) I’ve often heard the analogy of a water pitcher or glass used as well. “We can’t pour out what we don’t have,” goes the saying, suggesting that we need to fill our cups to then empty them for others. Similarly, there’s the familiar, “put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others” phrase that’s often repeated. All of these ideas can be good, but are we viewing ourselves the right way?

Yes, we are containers of things as described above, but are we supposed to just contain? Is life really about filling up and emptying out? I think there’s more to it than that. Instead of being vessels that only hold contents, I’d like to offer some different imagery. Let’s consider the value of both holding and being a conduit or carrier, much like a hose or our veins. A hose holds water and remains filled, taking it across distances, for as long as the water source supplies. Likewise, our veins remain filled and constantly flowing, carrying life-giving fluids to and from the heart.

In the same vain (Ha! See what I did there?) if our hearts remain closely connected to the Lord, He, too, is a constant supplier. In fact, He is a filler-upper of some of the best things in life! If we’re open, these blessings will fill our hearts and souls and then flow out from us to bless others. Instead of getting filled and emptied like a “container,” we can remain at a more steady state like a “carrier” vessel (of course, with ups and downs, but perhaps not with such drastic differentials.)

Jesus is a constant source of life, love, strength, peace and hope. He is always on and always supplying living water, if we want to receive it. Once we do, we can, in turn, share Jesus with others! (Which, by the way, only fills us more!) It’s such a lovely cycle, actually – receiving, filling, flowing, giving, and then back to receiving. Notice, there isn’t an opportunity for empty! This is a life-giving cycle that can become more regular in our lives when we seek to make it our purpose.

So, what about that to-do list?

Just as this month began, I traveled to Mexico on an orphan care mission trip with girlfriends. I shared the week with missionaries, who were making material sacrifices of convenience, luxury and even safety. We also bonded for days with school-aged children who had their basic needs met but didn’t have much more. Not materially, anyway. They all had Jesus, though, and you could clearly see it. There was a peace and joy amidst their circumstances, and although I’m sure they would prefer things were different or easier, they still had a contentment and appreciation. The simple joys weren’t lost on any of them. They were all carriers of Christ.

It was a great reminder to me to say yes to Jesus, not in general, but EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’ve questioned myself a million times since returning home to wrap up the month:

  • Why am I getting stressed about this?
  • Does it really matter that much?
  • Can I let go a little and trust God more?
  • Why am I allowing the world (and its to-do lists) to steal my joy?
  • Am I receiving all that Christ has and wants for me?
  • Who am I sharing His love with today?

I’m convinced those missionaries and children, in their lack, gave more to me than I gave to them. They reassured me that carrying the fragrance of Christ is worth our best yes! And, I don’t need to allow myself to be drained by a seemingly endless list of things that don’t really make that much difference at the end of the day. I’m trying to pick and choose a little wiser now, leaving myself room to breathe, and most importantly, room to spend time daily with Jesus; to ask Him what He has for me each day.

When we connect with Christ, the ultimate and never-ending supplier of life, He fills us with His Spirit and give us access to the gifts that come from Him. Like a vein directly to our heart, He continually pumps life into and through us. Empty isn’t part of His vocabulary, and we can guard ourselves against emptiness with Him. It’s for us, for others and for His glory!

May this knowledge and understanding guide us, and may it help us to put May back in its place! Let’s jump into the cycle and flow of fullness in Christ and let it be the only wheel on which we take a spin! Let’s invite Jesus back into May!!

Please pray in the words of the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 3:16-19): I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen {me} with power through his Spirit in {my} inner being, so that Christ may dwell in {my} heart through faith. And I pray that {I}, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that {I} may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

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