Emptiness isn’t a skill I want to add to my wheelhouse, but I admit that lately, it seems to be frequenting me often. That depleted feeling of drained energy, and emotions leaking from a lack of rest and an overabundance of action. We live in a society that is extremely great at teaching us how to move, but really lousy at cultivating the power of motionlessness; stillness.
My day starts at 5 am and doesn’t truly end – meaning my butt is on the couch and I’m trying desperately to force my mind to slow down – until about 8 pm. I feel that the busier I am, the more productive I am. But I’m finding that the more ‘productive’ I feel the more exhausted I become. Exhaustion, when driven by the distraction of mindless motion, leads me only to the doorway of emptiness. As a society, we’ve been conditioned to press into this thing called ‘busyness’, which seems to cast a hypnotic trance on our hearts and warps our minds into thinking that if we rest, we’ll lose progress, if we take a break then we’re weak, if we stop moving then we’re lazy and if we’re lazy… others will notice and if they notice, then they’ll judge me. If they judge me, then I’m unworthy.
Well, friends, I’m calling BS.
Commitments made and schedules overloaded in the name of busyness are only going to leave you desolate. Desolation leads to a life lived reaching for everything and anything to fill that feeling in your soul that you can’t quite put a name to. It’s that hollow ache right in the middle of your chest when you finally slow down enough to catch your breath. It’s that homesick, vacant feeling in your stomach when the rest of the world sleeps and you’re wide awake. It’s that constant need to be filled and that human desire for contentment. So we settle for temporary fixes because we don’t understand that it’s our striving that’s causing that dull ache.
So, we fill.
We fill with food and alcohol, hoping that it eases our anxiety but all we’re really doing is numbing our disease. We fill with friends and significant others, hoping that they can bring us a sense of belonging and worthiness. But people were never meant to fill that void so it only widens the chasm rather than healing it. We fill with work and achievements, hoping that the temporary feeling of recognition brings with it some sort of lasting solution. We reach and we fill, but instead of feeling full we feel… empty. Our days get longer as our souls grow thirstier because we’re running on autopilot instead of stopping to look for Jesus in the midst of our chaos. This act of constantly filling is humankind’s automatic response to the absence of God and an inability to be comfortable with His command for silence.
Stillness and silence in the presence of Jesus is the ‘thing’ we ought to be filling our souls with. This overflowing of Him is what leads our hearts in the direction of lasting contentment and it’s what gives us the energy to tackle what He’s calling us to; our jobs, our health, our kids (fur babies included), our marriages, and the rest of our tribes and commitments. When we start living from this place full of Him and stop pursuing a lifestyle filled with mindless commotion, that’s when joy starts to seep into those dry and depleted places. We can feel ourselves relax as the weight of the busy world we carry has finally found its resting place.
When we acknowledge Jesus as this safe place to rest our heads, we give ourselves the freedom to breathe. Once the smoke clears, time stops, and we breathe deeply the scent of His grace; our souls refreshed. That grace becomes the very air we live by and pressing pause begins to feel like a safe haven rather than a guilty pleasure. Forgiving love begins to melt those chains of busyness that have warped our minds into thinking we have to constantly be on the move. Priorities and purpose come into focus because we’ve given ourselves the time to seek out His plan for our lives. We remember who we are, insecurities fade and worthiness takes its place as we bask in His presence.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… and I’ll keep saying it until you believe it as truth. His presence is a sweetness you didn’t know your soul needed. I urge you this week to intentionally press pause and rest in the presence of Jesus, guilt free. Get familiar with the lovely way He alone can fill your searching soul. Rest your racing mind in the hands of the Father, and watch your heart come alive.