Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A Drained Nest: Feeling Empty?

Some time ago, Betty wrote Katie, an advice columnist,  asking for ideas on how to be happy. She felt empty and everything seemed meaningless. Although, she wasn’t rich like notable celebrities and despite the fact that she had everything one could reasonable think, her life was bland and shallow.
According to Betty, she had tried every thinkable idea and agrees that volunteering to help others was helpful, but on the long run solved nothing because her happiness was short lived and superficial.  

This note reminded me about women. We are extreme perfectionist. We are perfect at hiding flaws, even to a knowledgeable world. It’s very simple. When our hair is damaged; we pull up a cap and cover it up. We might even dress a wig and make it seem natural. When our skin breaks out unevenly; we mask it with layers of concealer or foundation. No wonder why make-up companies won’t go bankrupt. If any part of our body seems immeasurable to standards; we find a replacement.  There is nothing that cannot be removed or padded. Now, we’ve got padded bra, padded pants, hair remover, fake eye lashes, plastic ears and much more. We are very good at padding everything about our lives even up to our emotions, thoughts and feelings. Come to think of it, we get away with it most times. I remember wearing a slant hair style for years because my baby hairs pulled off. People taught I was being creative. They almost named me the best hair stylist, but underneath I knew my personal struggles. People can trade everything they have to get what we already own, but if they only knew how we struggle to keep an uptight face in the morning. Everyone thinks our lives make perfect sense but instead, it made messier sense. 

Betty said to Katie, “when I am back in my world, I feel empty and I become a shadow.” Katie, How do I remain happy? May be, you are a little less or more than Katie and you are asking the same question, or may be in another way. We can blame everyone in our world, and give credit to a few who have passed away and beat around the bush for a help that did not show up but we can’t deny, that part of us that is constantly messy, unhappy, unfulfilling, bitter and complaining. I don’t stand to say, women. I mean, we women. This means, I am in no means a judge of emptiness, or place myself in a position better than every other woman but if you can read in between lines. I have been a victim of that world; in fact, I know the signs and symptoms because I have once been a patient. And when suddenly I lose my way again, I pick up this and get back to work.  We are at most unhappy when we have it all because it does make it worse. 
What point am I driving at?

You can have it all; cash, jewelleries, shoes, clothing’s, prospects. But it doesn’t cover the wounds within. Just as we can fool the world with cosmetic beauty covering an inflamed, broken skin, we may also get away with cosmetic happiness and claim how our life feels great with our children, husband and family. But what do we do to our emptiness; our broken self. You can imagine rubbing super hair glue over a broken scalp. You can bet, that's a recipe for disaster and you can also guess how much it will hurt if we were to undo the cover. No wonder, we feel our inbox is full but our life is empty. What does it take to be happy? Is it a bundle of motivational books, series of 100 to do list, piles of activities and self-engrossed procedures. Are there quick fix like “look within yourself”, “reach deep within”. No

So if you ask me, why am I unhappy or empty?

I will refer you to a quote by a Blaise Pascal, a French Mathematician, Philosopher and Physicist,

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus”.

Our life feels empty because the vacuum where God fills is filled with something else other than God.  If you ever feel you have lost the rudder to your ship, lack direction, your life lacks meaning, any emptiness as a Non-Christian. It simply translate that you are missing the entire reason of your existence and that’s God. If you feel empty as a non-Christian, it simply means that you are allowing worldly pressures, anxiety, fear, failures, must-have to encroach and get hold of you. When we have lost torch or fail to have this intimate relationship with our creator, everything seems incomplete, even our children, a new child, parties, drinks, cigarettes, friends, money cannot fill it. The choicest of food, music or words or clothing cannot make it up. So when the bell rings, Empty! Empty!! Empty!!! The buzzer should retort, I am running empty of God! I need God!! More of God!!!

What can I do to overcome emptiness?

Seek the Lord & Draw near to God:
 If you do not have a personal relationship with God in Jesus: click here for a short prayer

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come; buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” …Isiaih 55:1-7: 1 

 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” …Psalms 42: 1

Repent and detach from activities that crowds your relationship with God

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.7 other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear?” …Matthew 13:3-9

Meet the Lord regularly

30 I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; 31 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. 32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 34 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

Prov. 24:30-33

Give no room to your sinful self (flesh)

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Galatians: 5:16

Ideally, we should each fellowship daily with God for an extended period—honestly sharing feelings and thoughts, reading His Word, and listening to His voice. Begin five to ten minutes three times a day and perhaps plan for longer sessions a few times a week or on weekends. Just as loneliness reminds us of our need for other people, emptiness indicates that we have neglected our relationship with God and His priorities for us. The solution is simple: We must return to loving and obeying the Lord. He will guide us to attitudes and activities that bring lasting fulfilment.

Prayer: Father, thank You for showing me how to handle the emptiness I feel at times. Help me return to close fellowship with. You the moment I begin to sense my life is meaningless. Draw me near to yourself, and remind me that only in you can I find lasting satisfaction. Amen.


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