Empty – It describes something, it’s an action, and it’s a thing.
Boy, is it a thing.
I have a lot of Empty’s in my life. We all do. Intended or not, the majority of humanity has at least one Empty.
Or, is afraid of one.
It seems that a lot of fear is wrapped around an Empty. I am afraid of something being Empty, afraid of Emptying something (I make a bag a cereal last like nothing else), and afraid of an Empty space.
What is your Empty?
Perhaps a better question is, what are you afraid of being Empty?
Maybe, you’re face to face with the Empty already. It’s the empty chair across the room, the phone that never rings, the void in your stomach that is never filled, the space in your heart that yawns at the end of the day.
What is it about the Empty that we are so afraid of?
It feels like it proves something, doesn’t it? The Empty proves that _________. . . what? I’m not good enough. I didn’t do enough. I’m not worth it. I’m not lovable.
What else? What does the fear about the Empty say to you? Keep it mind that it’s not the Empty that says these things, it’s the Fear.
The Fear talks and it speaks loudly. It does not shut up. It is non-stop. What does it say? Notice that Fear doesn’t use it’s own voice but it will try to sound like yours. Fear will use “I” instead of “you” just to add to the confusion:
I am alone
No one will help me.
I can’t rely on anyone.
I have to do this myself.
These are my Fears.
What are yours?
And, with Fear, typically, if I believe the lies and accept them as my own, I have a few defense mechanisms that I tend to pull.
A) Shut Down – I am tired, I am restless. Nothing is good or right or real or helpful. I am lost and I cannot find my way. Nor can anyone help me (see exposed lies above).
B) Begin Frenzy – I do everything. All the to-do lists. Refuse to ask for help. Blame all the people for not helping me. Do all the projects. Hate all the projects. Which leads back to (A) because I didn’t self-regulate and therefore burn out.
C) Buy Things or Take on More Projects – This is the least noticeable to others and a great excuse for me to “fix” something. And, by me being so “creative”, I look productive. I get compliments for this reaction. I am rewarded for this behavior.
When I live out of fear, I don’t ask for help. I don’t give others or God the opportunity to show up. I don’t want to hear the “No” so I give myself some weird, badly timed “Yes” and it doesn’t work and it doesn’t fulfill but, by golly, the thing isn’t Empty anymore. But, it still wrong. It still sucks. I am trying to fix the feelings but they won’t go away. My solution then is to numb. Because then, I won’t at least, have to feel.
I am afraid of my feelings.
Aren’t you? Aren’t you afraid that they’re going to explode in your face and by admitting the truth of how you feel, you believe that you will lose something? Control? A friendship? Your respect? We are afraid of more Empty and so we try to deal with the Empty’s that we already have.
Isn’t that enough?
For the past few weeks, I’ve been back on the job hunt. Job hunting is hard, and weird and I’ve thought about starting a support group because most people make it sound so easy. “Go get a job!” like they’re lying on the street just waiting to be picked up. Anyway. . .
I was at home, hating my house, and went out for a walk and starting praying and my prayers surprised me because my prayer was this. . .
God, fill these Empty spaces. I don’t need You to give me a job.
I just want You. Iwant You to be enough.
This was me, not choosing A, B, or C. This was me asking God to fill these places with Himself. That He was enough and that I wasn’t going to worry about the rest.
And, the lovely, crazy thing was, was that it worked. I didn’t get a job that day, but I felt better. Things weren’t so hard. Things weren’t so heavy. I didn’t hate my house (as much).
God was enough and, it turns out, so was everything else.
Is God big enough for your Empty?