Have you ever had any of the following proclamations rise up in your heart or be voiced from your tongue:
- I’ve lost my ambition!
- I’m empty inside, I have nothing left to give.
- I feel like my skills are null and void, all that I’ve learned and accomplished seem useless.
- I have no heart to press on, I just don’t care anymore, it’s too hard.
- I just want to quit and go live in obscurity.
- I have always been able to dig deep and find an inner strength to accomplish tasks, but I have nothing left inside to pull from, I’m empty.
- I used to be this strong, competent, self-reliant hero of all I encountered, but I have none of that in me.
- I’ve gotten the wind knocked out of me too many times by hard circumstances in life, I can’t try even one more time.
- I just can’t do it, I don’t feel smart enough, skilled enough, they won’t like me.
If so, good! Fantastic! Hooray! Those who have come to know these statements as your own can at last realize what it means to be emptied of yourself and own strength to be used beautifully by God. His rivers of living water can flow forth from your Spirit unhindered by self-regard and self-effort. Here is where we begin the path that will take us through the rest of our lives in the land of the living. We may have heard of this emptying and dying to self, we may have even experienced some aspects at various seasons in our lives and thought we had mastered the concept. These are all just stages of development in our spiritual walk with Him who knows us, loves us, and leads each one as a lamb in all gentleness and mercy. He loves us at each stage and rejoices over us with singing as we lift our eyes to Him whence cometh our help.
We often mistake our usefulness to God by how much we can accomplish in our own strength, using our own wits. We can begin to learn to rely on God, seek His wisdom, depend on His strength but we must understand there may be levels of the emptying of ourselves, for I must decrease so that He must increase. When we are weak, then are we made strong. Our identity is not in what we can achieve but in what He can accomplish in and through us. Herein lies purpose, satisfaction, and abundant life.
How are we made strong if we run out of our own strength and ambition is far from us? From Him flowing through us. Imagine how beautiful to our Beloved you are standing with feet facing forward unable to move yet with focused attention on Him who made you, weakened arms dangling helplessly at each side, hands emptied of all resources and acts of work, heart stilled, and head tilted right exposing your carotid artery evidencing a vulnerable submission. This is the stance where our strength, efforts, self-confidence, and hope rests fully on Him who will complete the work He’s begun in each of us. It is from this place our steps are secured and we no longer live and move and have our being in our own efforts to obtain success, impress, or achieve but to be open to His moving, leading, guidance.
When we have no heart for a thing He has made us to do, then surely will our heart be softened and our words speak forth life to the hearers for not in our own heart will we be actioning forward but from His heart, from a place of deep intimacy and reliance. Every encounter with mankind takes on a new meaning. Every conversation, response, or action takes on a Divine purpose for it is the Holy Spirit moving through us to speak to underlying fears, removing yokes of oppression, revealing hidden matters and bringing light to the eyes. No, we can’t do this work. Man can convolute matters even with the best of intentions, but as we let Him who knows the thoughts and hearts of all move through us in every purpose, then we will see His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”