Would people, who know you best, identify you as upbeat and a giver? But have you ever felt hollow and empty inside? Have you sometimes decided that you have nothing more to give to people around you?
I’m sure we have all felt that way during some point in our lives. The feeling may catch us by surprise, sneak up on us, and leave us unable to get up and face the world. Or we may recognize the sensation of emptiness after a challenging event in our life—the birth of a baby, the care of elderly parents, the breakup of a marriage, the accumulation of stress, or the loss of a job and career.
But what if there is no specific cause? What if we can only shrug our shoulders and say, “I don’t know why I’m feeling this way?”
Sometimes we give of ourselves until the reservoir runs dry. To be born a giver can be uplifting but challenges can sap inner strength. A well doesn’t replenish itself. There has to be an inward flow.
Anger and depression can take up residence where once there was joy and vitality. We are human and we all need to feel an inflowing of comfort and a time of renewal. It’s not a sin to pull away from things, including people and loved ones, when constant demands deplete layers of our inner stability and stamina. Even Jesus had to disappear and seek renewal.
We should never feel guilt while stepping out of the picture long enough to gain replenishment. Givers must understand that a time away or hiatus actually helps them continue with the giving lifestyle, which is an intricate part of their personality. They love to give. A Giver can’t be happy if they totally forsake what God has implanted in them—the desire to help and provide for others.
So, keep on giving but don’t cheat yourselves out of a time for renewal. It’s okay to take that little trip, head for the woods, climb on that horse, and ride into the sunset. Run off to the beach, hide from the world for a week … a day … an hour, or go eat at your favorite restaurant in another town. Why not call up an understanding friend and take them to lunch? Totally change your daily routine and do something different. Take a long drive, stop at some quaint diner for lunch, or stroll through a local park.
Remember the scriptures. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 KJV
Be a happy giver and prevent breakage of spirit by taking time out for yourself. God understands you have physical, emotional, and mental needs. A giver shouldn’t feel guilty about slipping away and finding time to mend. So … run away, if only for an hour. Gain strength to fly.
© Karen Campbell Prough
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Imagine a group of people standing in front of the two photos of old windows included with this blog. There would be a variety of opinions about the colorful presentation on the glass. Some people would consider the paintings quaint, clever, beautiful, attention-grabbing, or a work of art. Other opinions may edge toward dislike.
But no matter how much you like them or dislike them—what you are looking at is a fake. The drawings are representing something that isn’t there—isn’t real. There are no curtains. There is no vase or pretty flowers.
At a glance, the paintings make the world think they are genuine and give the house that lived-in look, an indication that happy times still exist. But they don’t. The pretty, painted windows hide emptiness, disrepair, shabbiness, and promote a lie.
How does this compare to life and people? Some people are a work of art but they are empty inside. Others put up a fancy front and hide hurts. A bold outward appearance may be a cover for insecurity. A jolly laugh might screen depression. The list goes on.
It’s very difficult to learn how to discern what is really behind the established faces. But as we get to know people, we can catch a glimpse of the pain, rejection, and hurts behind the make-believe. God loves the person behind the façade. He doesn’t just look at the outward appearance. The Bible urges us to look beyond the pretense and see the real person, the troubles, and the hurt. God’s word tells us to love everyone, not jump in with rags to clean them up. We can’t assume we have the ability to scrub their grief away, attempt major changes and overhauls, or redo them to suit our standards.
Behind the fancy painted glass there may be emptiness, but you can help fill it with hope and a better life. Ask God to give you the ability to discern when a careful painting is taking the place of a real face. We can express God’s love to those around us by reaching out to them and giving of ourselves.
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~Karen Campbell Prough