Giving from a depleted soul...
We’ve all heard the saying “we cannot pour from an empty cup”. We try. We give. We pour. But it is impossible to pour when you are empty.
I did not realize I was depleted until one day I starred in the mirror and did not recognize myself. Who was I? I knew who I was...Jasmine N. Tucker...but who are you? Jasmine takes care of herself. Jasmine smiles from a sincere and genuine place. Jasmine gives selflessly. This Jasmine I was staring at looked tired. Looked like she was faking her way through everything just because she rather please others before herself. This Jasmine was mentally fighting her spiritual battles at night and instead of jumping out of the bed to pray, this Jasmine just laid there and took the beating. This Jasmine lacked faith in her future and even began questioning God. This Jasmine was serving day in and day out with a fake smile but secretly wanted to scream, run, and hide every moment she could. She was not herself.
Where was I? Where. Was. I?
I was lost. I allowed myself to sink so far down to a place I could not catch myself. I began going through the motions and not appreciating, let alone acknowledging, God for each day. Even as I would pray and read my devotions, I yet felt empty and lost. Where is the Jasmine that preached to others to put yourself first, have a self-care day, be unapologetically yourself? Where was she? Once again, she was lost in the wilderness. Reminds me of a sermon my dad preached once. Sometimes God will place us in the wilderness, so we can find all strength through him and only him. God definitely shook me and placed me there. I was lost, empty, and depleted in the wilderness. Yet, I was trying to pour to everything around me as if I was full. I was giving to my family, to my church, to my students, to my school, to my friends, heck - even to strangers. I was pouring because my heart is good. But my heart was on a fine line of bitterness and rejection because I wanted to not care and slowly began to resent my responsibilities as if they did something to me. I slowly began to resent everything and everyone who asked anything of me because I was so tired, I became fed up not because of them but because I was simply lost, depleted, and empty.
So….something changed in me.
It was a Sunday, and I was at my second service hanging on by a thread with a million thoughts racing about my week’s to-do list. Then my sis and forever roomie Tavia (#shamelessplug, click on her name - she has an awesome blog/site as well) gave me a call asking if I’d like to attend the Fall Festival Revival at the Potter’s House to hear Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts speak. I initially wanted to say no, I am going home to eat and go to sleep. I was once again feeding into my body. Granted - I needed rest (self-care is essential and I will hit on that in a second), but something ignited in my spirit that I haven’t seen ignite in a long time - I was HUNGRY to go to that service. So I pressed my way and was determined to fight through the Sunday night traffic, hunger, and cold to get to this word.
Sometimes we have to find ourselves so empty and lost in the wilderness where our hunger for God shifts from complacency to desperation.
I arrived early and sat with expectancy waiting to hear a word from God. Y’all - I have not sat in a church service in forever where all I did was be in the moment without doing anything. I was being fed without anything asked of me. Now, to be clear, my pastor spiritually feeds me EVERY Sunday, but every Sunday I am singing and helping around the church with my many hats because I love my dad and even more, I love to please God. I get joy worshiping, it is my intimate time with God - but to be sung to that night at the Potter’s House felt so good.
Anyways, the service was anointed. From worship service, to offering, to the choir singing and the pastor speaking - it was on fire. Pastor S. Jakes Robert preached a word that was so profound, I just KNEW that God whispered all of my business to her and said “dedicate this to jasmine”. It hit me in my chest. I began to repent because at that moment, I truly knew that I have been giving God a complacent service through my worship and prayer time. I was not filling myself spiritually and naturally like I should have, so I allowed myself to get to that place of depletion. Pastor Jakes invited the congregation to the altar, and I felt the POWER and HUNGER from every person near me. Everyone hasted towards the altar with a focus. I begin to feel my body become numb and felt God filling me with his love, his power, his spirit, his precious grace, and mercy from the top of my head on down to the sole of my feet. I felt God filling me. I left filled. God instructed me to walk in that moment but to continue filling myself. This past week, I broke down to my parents as a war cry of feeling overwhelmed and tired - I felt myself depleting once again. My body was physically sick too. But God sent a word through my leaders, my parents, and fed me like I needed. It was a sign for me to stop, check in with God and Jasmine to get my spirit and natural body in order.
I need a #JaeDay once a month. If it is just me leaving for a massage, getting pampered, experiencing an adventure, sitting in the park writing with no technology, or driving around the town with the windows down ---- I need that time. We all do. We all need time to fill ourselves, so we won’t lose ourselves. I am sure I will feel low again in this life of mine, but I know just what to do to be preventive and proactive next time around.
I hope this blesses you because this blog (like all of my blogs) is a part of my self-care and purpose.
Isaiah 40:3-5 New International Version (NIV) 3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord[a]; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.[b] 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”