A crucial aspect of serving others is putting time and energy into our own physical, mental, and spiritual needs.
One common way of thinking about this is the “full cup” metaphor, which goes something like this: we must first fill our own cup so that we have energy and love to pour out onto others. Filling our cup can look like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, spending time with loved ones, taking time for prayer and silence, getting outside, speaking with a counselor, listening to music… the list goes on and on, and the list is unique to everyone.
Often with this metaphor, though, it feels like it’s completely on us to fill our cup – as if we in our own power are the ones that fill it. This makes acts of care for our bodies, minds, and souls feel like chores, and it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with our various needs. How do we eat healthily, take time for prayer, move our bodies, get an adequate amount of sleep – the list goes on – all while being present with our work each day and the people around us?
What has been incredibly powerful to me lately is the truth that God is actually the one doing the filling; our job is simply to be receptive to it. Our healthy choices are a “yes” or an “amen” to letting God in and allowing God to take care of us; they are an act of love towards God and us whom God has created.
I love the full cup metaphor because it makes me think of the cup that runs over and overflows in the psalms. This cup is not only full, but overflowing with the abundance of Love and Healing that is God. It can be difficult to let God in and through the harder layers of our heart – like fear, pride, and anxiety – but in exchange for our vulnerability and trust, and by the grace of God, this is what our hearts can look and feel like.
May we rest in the truth that we are neither alone when it comes to taking care of ourselves, nor the providers of our own strength and healing. God’s got us.
– Ellie Fall, YES Leader and Intern