When You Are About to Hit Empty

by Cynthia Jennings on May 19, 2021

 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.(Mark 6:31). 

If I had a warning sign on my forehead, it would probably flash: Fresh out! Give me room, I’m empty!

Has there ever been a time in your life where you were juggling a lot of needs. You found yourself tired and cranky, but you kept going—until one day you realized it’s nearly impossible to give anything out of an empty well. I’ve been in that season more than once.

During one of these seasons, I would often tell myself, “I got this!” “I’ll rest when I’m done.” Until one day I realized I couldn’t take another step. My body was shaking with exhaustion. There were warning signs, I just ignored them because I felt I was strong. And you know what, God showed me I’ m not strong within myself. I am only able to help others because of the strength and ability He bestows upon me. I heard God audibly say, “since you’re not taking heed to my warnings, I have no choice but to make you rest!”

 I had to learn to not ignore the signs!

In the opening verse, we find Jesus and the disciples after a busy and successful time of ministry. Jesus recognized their fatigue as well as their human need for food and rest.

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves” (Mark 6:31-32).

With eagerness and excitement, the disciples may have continued working. In their desire to meet the needs of others, they may have ignored the fact they need rest and food. We too oftentimes are eager and excited to help others that we forget or overlook our own need for rest and food. Jesus, however, didn’t ignore it. While He cared about the crowd, He showed an example to his disciples, that is applicable to us today, that a balance of work and rest help us better love the people around us.

Something else I learned during this season; not everything that seems important, is important. Ohhhh wee!! This one right here hit home for me. I’m one who must have all the “t’s” crossed and “I’s” dotted…you know all those small things. Whatever didn’t get done during the day I would go to sleep with them on my mind. Whomever I was supporting I was constantly thinking and praying how can I support them in their need. Needless to say, I wasn’t getting much rest. At one point my body began to give me signals that I simply ignored. Dark circles (more than normal…lol), foggy thinking and a shaky body. This was my body signaling me to slow down.

God is the master Creator! Just as Jesus turned to the disciple to tell them, “you need rest,” our bodies will let us know when it’s time to slow down and take a rest.

I learned that I was on my way to a burnout. So, I was intentional in shutting down physically and emotionally. I acknowledge the accomplishments of my day, instead of beating myself up for what was left undone. I laid the emotional gap at Jesus feet and I learned to give myself permission to view sleep as God intended, sweet rest (Proverbs 3:24).

Paying attention to the warning signs is essential. If Jesus recognized the signs of fatigue and “emptiness” with His disciples, we can ask Him to help us see them within ourselves.

Each of us has a different “emptiness” meter gauge. Self-evaluation is crucial to determine when it’s specifically time for you to re-prioritize and rest so that you are not out of balance.

Pouring out is great! In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful things we get to do. However, pouring back in by resting, recognizing when we are stressed, adjusting and asking for help is vitally important too.

If you’ve been trying to do it all and the signs are flashing “empty,” this is your special invitation to step aside and rest a while


PEARLStoPONDER: Jesus, I am a doer and I sometimes find that I am out of balance. Help me to recognize the signs that I’m approaching empty. Thank you for the privilege of pouring out, and also the invitation to pour back in.


Matthew 11:28-29-- 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Psalm 105:4-- Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Psalm 73:26-- My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart an my portion forever.

Galatians 6:9-10-- And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

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