Have you ever felt depleted? For the past few weeks, that would describe me.
I have simply felt depleted… empty… alone… without direction… needing focus… tired of problems… tired of the same ol’ stuff to face everyday… frustrated with waiting to see God’s purpose in pain… wanting more.
Spiritually depleted. Emotionally depleted. Physically depleted. Can you relate?
To compound the problem, I have also been feeling guilty for feeling depleted. After all, hasn’t God blessed me in so many ways? Shouldn’t I maintain that unshakable joy that the Bible promises? Shouldn’t I be stronger in my faith when adversity strikes? Is God ashamed of me for the way I am feeling, after everything He has done for me?
But despite how I should be feeling, I had to admit to myself, and to God, that my heart felt empty. I desperately longed for what I once had – a passion for Jesus that fueled my every thought, every action, and every behavior. But somewhere amidst the tsunami of problems that have flooded into my life lately, my unshakable joy and passion got swept out with the current.
So lately, I have been on a quest to find it, and God has been gently leading the way, pricking my heart with reminders of His love, and touching my soul with gentle reassurances that He is still there, with open arms.
For example, my sweet friend Wendy Pope wrote an article in the P31 Woman Magazine this month which discussed how she had recently experienced a down time in her faith, and one day God led her to the words of King David in Psalm 13:3, ‘Restore the sparkle to my eye or I will die.’ (NLT)
When my eyes fell upon this verse, my heart leapt. It was as if the light bulb came on in my head, and I realized that what had been missing, was my sparkle! I had allowed the problems of life to drown out the voice of my Savior, and as a result, my sparkle for Jesus and life had become dull, rusty and unnoticeable. I have been praying each day every since, that God would restore the sparkle to my eye.
Then last weekend, on a very last minute decision, I decided to start a new bible study at my church. I went with anticipation, hoping that God would have a word for me… and discovered that He actually had three.
Space. For. Grace
As I watched Beth Moore enthusiastically begin our study of James, her words pierced my soul. She explained that when problems were pounding our hearts, God’s purpose was not to leave us broken and empty, but to create a space for His grace.
These three words sunk deep into my heart as I realized that while the devil was trying to create an emptiness in my heart through the circumstances of my life, God was creating a perfect space that could be filled up with holy grace that would bring back my sparkle.
Suddenly – I felt the feeling of depletion fade away. I felt full… of Him. I felt fidgety with enthusiasm. I even felt a little sparkle begin welling up in my heart, flickering with excitement at the thought of dancing in the dark again. Friends, it was the best feeling I have had in a long time. I felt fueled to begin again, with a fresh attitude, a new sparkle, an appreciation for how God works, and a zest to do all He is calling me to do. Even if it means swimming against the current with every ounce of my being.
As a smile crept across my face, I felt confident that God was smiling too.
A new year doesn’t always bring a new attitude or great joy. These things only come through prayer, and a commitment to pray for God to keep us full, even in the middle of a tsunami.
If you have been feeling depleted lately, I encourage you to tuck Psalm 13:3 into your heart. Tape it on your fridge or bathroom mirror, or put it on your car dash, but no matter what you do, allow it to begin seeping into that space in your heart which has been left gaping open by hurt or adversity, and then ask God to fill that empty space, with His grace.
In the words of Beth Moore, the only thing that is supposed to be empty…. is the tomb.