Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel: When You’ve Got Nothing Left to Give
When my youngest prayed to receive Christ as Savior, he finished and looked up at me, “I’m ready to go now.” At first, I didn’t grasp what he meant, but then I realized he was referring to Heaven. Prepared and ready, he wanted God to go ahead and beam him up.
I understand that desire. The more I see my eternal Home painted before me, the more I want to step into that reality–the less hold this broken world has over me. After all, we’re just playing in the mud here; someday, we’ll live in the castle.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ~C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Usually after we’ve put away the Christmas decorations and thrown away the streamers and washed the glasses we toasted to a new year, we pause and sigh. Resolutions seem futile. After all, over 90% of us will fail to keep our “clean-slate” list of priorities. We’ll flounder and slowly fizzle, losing our determination. Sometimes “new” can seem all too tired.
What motivates us to keep on?What propels us forward in our careers, relationships, ministry, and day-to-day grind? Few ask themselves those questions and even fewer know how to answer them. But the answers to these questions are vital to our identity and purpose. Vital if we want to use our life and not waste it.
So, what do you do when you feel like you have nothing left to give? When inspiration feels like a forgotten flicker? Where does your energy come from? A pat on the back, a new achievement or adventure, or relationship? A new purchase or a buffered saving’s account? Who or what gives you your sense of worth?
As a believer, we should never face complete hopelessness: regardless of what this life offers–or doesn’t–our hope is Someone else and Somewhere else.
“What we love about this life are the things that resonate with the life we were made for. The things we love are not merely the best this life has to offer—they are previews of the greater life to come. For the Christian, death is not the end of adventure but a doorway from a world where dreams and adventures shrink, to a world where dreams and adventures forever expand.”
–Randy Alcorn, Heaven
Some people erroneously believe that constant contemplation of Heaven will diminish our Earthly usefulness and make us a weird people out of touch with the needs of those around us, but in reality, knowing why we are here and where we are going should make us more peaceful and loving. We won’t be striving to make this world a heaven (which isn’t possible). Randy Alcorn states the idea this way: “If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”
When you feel tired and empty, ask yourself, “am I looking to this world (and certain people) to fulfill what only Jesus and the next life can?”
Reset your focus toward Heaven and see how much lighter this world becomes.
John 14:2-4, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.You know the way to the place where I am going.”