How many of us can relate to the feeling of running on empty? For me, it comes in two ways. There’s the everyday, being a mom to four kids, exhausted, things are not up to my standard and I’m irritable…type of “I’m spent” feeling. Then, there’s the kind that comes with emotional trauma: my “undone” moment happens, I’m unraveled, I’m emotionally spent, and I come to the same place Michele described: “God, I have nothing. Nothing. You’re going to have to show up in a big way.”
I’m there right now…and it’s a mixture of the two kinds I described above. In these moments, I feel so “unpresentable.” I feel so far from the ideal image of myself. And I feel alone. I try to pour out my feelings to my husband, but sometimes, I end up feeling worse. I either feel that he doesn’t understand, or I feel even more of a mess than I originally did, because I’m throwing a mini temper tantrum at him out of my crazy emotions. This is not the “me” I want to present to him, or to the rest of my family, or to my friends.
Yet, in those moments, I feel like a real human. I feel that all pretense is gone, my own efforts are relinquished, and I’m exactly where God wants me to be. As Apostle Paul put it, that’s the place where I’m forced to trust God totally, instead of relying on my own strength or goodness.
It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.
–2 Corinthians 1:8-10 The Message Bible
I love these words Michele shared in Chapter 8, and I agree wholeheartedly.
Few things display unadulterated beauty like a pouring out when you’ve nothing to give. It must come from an otherwordly place, a well whose source you do not control. In that weak and lonely place of utter dependency, I learned a little bit about what it means to be a living sacrifice.
-Michele Cushatt, Undone*
It’s not an easy, comfortable place to be. It’s hard. It’s lonely. But, as she said, there’s beauty there. It’s only when we reach the end of ourselves that we experience this “utter dependency” on God. It’s only in this place that we truly begin to understand what Peal meant when he said, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
So, whether you’re running on empty because of everyday stress of life, or because you are in your undone process and you’re emotionally spent, know that as Paul said, “it’s the best thing that could have happened.” Trust me, I know it doesn’t feel like it, but it is. In this place of emptiness, when you have nothing left of yourself to give, God meets you and rescues you. And this type of life experience will have much bigger impact in your circle of influence than anything you could have accomplished on your own. Again, Michele couldn’t have said it better: “Authenticity ministers far more than put-togetherness. And vulnerability builds a far stronger bond than perfection.”
Let’s meet one another in this place of vulnerability and emptiness. Let’s remind one another of God’s grace – and of His power to rescue…time and time again.
*This is part of a series of posts I’m writing about a book by Michele Cushatt called Undone. I will write about what God is having me reflect on after each chapter. You can just read my posts, or you can join the online book club I started. Read my Invite post and Getting Started post to find out more about the book club.
This post was reflecting on Chapters 7 and 8.
Discussion Questions for the book club:
-No specific discussion questions for this week. I’d love to hear what jumped out at you from these two chapters.