Emptiness is not a good emotion but it does happen to many of us from time to time. It’s natural for us humans to feel empty. After all, feelings of emptiness, sadness, or loneliness are what make us truly human. It’s a part of the human condition. Whether we like it or not, most of us will encounter such emotion at one point in our lives, though others may encounter it too many times in the course of life.
We experience emptiness in several ways. Loss of a loved one can cause us to feel empty. Broken relationships with people we deeply adore can make us feel empty. Unfulfilled dreams and goals can lead to feelings of emptiness. And in many circumstances, when after we’ve tried everything and still we can’t find our real purpose in life, we feel incomplete, useless and empty.
Without a deep satisfaction, achieving a thorough, fulfilling contentment will be a perpetual struggle. But because God is a God of promise and truth, even if we lack a sense of purpose, fulfillment or contentment, our faith in the Good News can combat the emptiness and help us find fulfillment in Christ. So, today let me share 5 ways from Faith in the News blog on how you can feel complete even when emotions of emptiness fill you up.
Maybe this is one that you wouldn’t expect to see on this list, but serving others reminds me of the runner in “Chariots of Fire” where the runner felt God’s pleasure when he ran. I think you’ll discover that when you serve others in some capacity, you’ll begin to feel your purpose in life that God had planned for you (Eph 2:10), and that should refill your spiritual gas tank. Our church provides services at a local nursing home, and the way our hearts feel when we leave that place is indescribably joyful. We’re not only filled up, we’re overflowing.
What God Thinks of You
If you have never felt empty, then you’re a rare person indeed, because most of us reach a point where we’re running on fumes. That’s been my experience. I’ve learned that this isn’t a good time to make a major decision. Try this. Don’t just think about how you are, but whose you are. We are not loved because were beautiful; we are loved because He is. Read Psalm 103 to see why I can say that with confidence.
Praise Him in the Storm
If you are emptied and feel you can’t go on, start praising God. I know it’s not easy, but something happens. Even though it’s one of the most difficult things we will do as humans, when you begin to praise God in the storm you’re in, you can know that He is pleased. He knows it doesn’t come naturally to us, but there is strength in the struggle. This also shows we thank Him for all things, good and bad, and that we’re trusting Him to work everything out for our very best (Rom 8:28). If we understood that suffering is shaping us and conforming us into the image of Jesus Christ, we might see how even the evil things can turn into good (Gen 50:20).
I believe we can be our own worst enemy by judging ourselves, because we’re often harder on ourselves than we are anyone else, and sometimes we set a higher standard of forgiveness for ourselves than God does. When we’re feeling empty, it’s a lot easier to forgive others than it is ourselves, but when we can’t forgive ourselves, we are burdened with guilt, and it’s unnecessary guilt because what God has cleansed, is gone forever (2nd Cor 5:21). Now, God only see’s Jesus’ righteousness, so by not forgiving yourself, you are basically telling God that the blood of the Lamb is sufficient to take away all our sins except mine. We know that’s not true.
Fill up on the Word
This should be the first “go to” plan when you are feeling empty. There is real power in God’s Word (Rom 1:16; 1st Cor 1:18). Jesus reminded the disciples to “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). I think human feelings are highly overrated because God’s Word is always true; our feelings, not so much! Get in the Word and the Word will get into you and fill you up!
When you’re tired, hungry, overburdened, and feeling underappreciated, that’s when you are probably at your lowest point, but ironically, that’s when God is nearest to you. That’s not my opinion, but what God says by the psalmist, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). If you’re broken (really, we all are) and crushed in spirit (like we too are at times), God is nearer to you. I hope that fills you up my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.