When I became a mom, I was a tad bit naïve about how our lives would change. It couldn’t be too hard to take care of a tiny person, could it?
Boy, did I underestimate this thing called parenthood. Never have I felt so depleted, deflated, and drained all at once.
One specific area that proved to be quite challenging: our son’s sleeping habits. I imagined our son to be the baby who could fall asleep anywhere despite noise levels and comfort. But, unfortunately, he still has trouble sleeping through the night, and putting him down for naps feels like engaging in a war.
After wrestling our son to sleep, I often looked and felt like I collided with a tractor-trailer. I pulled all kinds of stunts in order to put our little guy to sleep—I rocked, swayed, laid down with him, bounced him, turned the lights off, used white noise to diminish distracting sounds. I mean you name it – I’ve tried it. One thing remained constant – I always walked out of the bedroom tired and weary.
After those moments of aggravation I wanted nothing more than to watch my favorite TV show. By all means I deserved a moment to unwind and allow my mind to go blank. I wish I could say the show was interior design related since I love design. Or, a cooking show since I love experimenting in the kitchen.
No. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but every opportunity I had I chose to delve into an over-dramatic soap opera. Not a Spanish telenovela. No, I preferred an American soap opera. You know, the ones that never get taken off the air.
Each time I clicked the On button on the TV remote, I reasoned, It’s not as bad as the other fictional shows on television now a days. And, it’s definitely not as bad as those reality shows. So, nothing to worry about.
But as time passed, watching and catching up on that show consumed any free moment I had. Since my son’s naptime usually conflicted with the air time of the show, I rushed to watch it on YouTube as soon as he fell asleep, or I streamed it on the network’s website.
This became the thing I ran to when I felt drained, tired, and empty.
As mentioned in previous posts, I love participating in online bible studies led by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Recently, I engaged in a six-week study and I scheduled time to sit, read the chapters, and answer follow-up questions. However, during those six weeks, I also made sure I did not miss any soap opera episodes as the thickening plot left me in suspense. I just couldn’t be left hanging.
Well, during the third week of the bible study, I reached a point in the book (What Happens When Women Say Yes to God) where the author, Lysa TerKeurst, began to describe a time in her life when God nudged her to give up watching TV all together. Here’s what Lysa shared:
“As I prayed, I felt God telling me why the TV had to go. I enjoyed sitting down after a tiresome day and being entertained. God showed me that I was vulnerable and empty during those times. It wasn’t that what I was watching was bad—it just wasn’t God’s best. I was filling myself with the world’s perspectives and influences, while He wanted to be my strength and fill me with Himself” (pg.44).
I read those words and went about my day. I cooked, cleaned, played with and cared for our son. But, all the while, those words resounded in my heart and mind. I knew viewing that soap opera was not God’s best for me. I watched it usually in the worst state of mind—tired, empty, and vulnerable. Instead of filling myself with God’s strength, I filled myself with worldly views and worldly content. I actually thought watching the show refreshed and comforted me in some way. But, in fact, it left me still feeling tired, weary, irritable, and drained.
I was empty, yet I was drawing from an empty well.
In the Bible, there’s a story of a Samaritan woman who met Jesus at a well (John 4). Though her history was different, I felt like my story matched hers. Tired and empty, she often went to the well to draw water, water she thought would fill her and satisfy her, but in the end just left her feeling the same—thirsty, depleted, and void. Then, she encountered Jesus, and He presented her an opportunity to draw from a well that would cause her to thirst no more. That “well” being Jesus himself.
Jesus explained to her that everyone who drank water from the well would be thirsty again (John 4:13). Then he said, “But the water I give them…becomes a perpetual spring within them, watering them forever…” (John 4:13, Living Bible). The Message translation describes this water as an “…artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
Well, the Samaritan woman left her water jar at the well and went back to her town changed. She no longer drew from a well of emptiness. Her satisfaction no longer lasted for a moment. The new well she drew from gave her gushing fountains of endless life.
As drained moms or wives, who are pulled in different directions, we sometimes draw from wells of perpetual emptiness, never truly feeling refreshed or replenished.
Empty, we draw from empty wells. We are left thirsty, never satisfied, and craving more.
Maybe, like me, you look to a TV show to refill you, when in fact it’s just filling you with worldly content. Or, perhaps you reach out to whatever candy bar or sweet treat is within arms reach (I’m guilty of this too…chocolate is from the devil!). But, those empty calories leave us craving more and feeling horrible about ourselves. Could going on shopping sprees be your form of replenishment?
All of these things have their place, but when we are left empty still, we have to wonder, Is this “well” filling me up or draining me dry?
It may not be bad, but you know it’s not God’s best.
Like the woman at the well, we make trips to our “well” carrying our empty vessels looking to refill them again. But, we fail to realize we are settling for perpetual emptiness instead of running to the source of perpetual springs.
I gave up that TV show. Now, during those time frames, I’m going to THE SOURCE for refreshment, refilling, and strength.
You may not have time to do an online bible study for six weeks. You may not even feel like you have the energy for something like that. But, if you are feeling drained, tired, and empty all you need is just 10 minutes to ask God to fill you, refresh you, and strengthen you so you can go on. It doesn’t take much. All it takes is a willing and obedient heart.
So, what is your well?