What to Do When You Feel Depleted
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
“I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty.” - Ruth 1:21
I don’t know about you, but there are many mornings I get up, read scripture, shower while jamming to a mix of worship/80s/90s/country music, get all dolled up, and walk out the door full of optimism and gratitude, only to return to my bed hours later feeling defeated, exhausted, and done. I’ve given my heart, time, energy, and patience to my work, children, home, and husband, and a lot of times my tanks are absolutely left with not a drop to spare by the time my head hits the pillow.
In Ruth 1, Naomi left Bethlehem for Moab with her husband and two sons by her side. Around ten years later, she returned to the land of her people a widow and childless. She was heartbroken, bitter, and tells us in verse 21 that the Lord brought her home “empty.”
While I haven’t lost my husband or children (by God’s grace), I can empathize with Naomi feeling empty, meaning she felt she had “no value or purpose.” At the end of those hard days, I’m left wondering how in the world, why in the world, the Lord would use me. By that time, any “fruit” I have left hanging is most definitely rotten. There usually isn’t an ounce of salt left and my light is well- hidden from sight.
This world will take and take until you have nothing more to give, and we will all find ourselves in those places of emptiness. The challenge is what we do to try and fill the void though. Will we seek the Lord and wait patiently for His plan? Or will we look to other people or things of this world for a temporary fix?
My sweet friends, If you have ever left a “place” full, only to return empty, with a void in your heart, here is a list of verses to help encourage you, lift your spirits, and turn your focus to being filled by the Lord alone:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. - Romans 15:13
Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. - Colossians 2:9-10
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:10
He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. - Colossians 1:17
Do you know the beautiful part about emptiness? When you have nothing left, there is nothing left to do but be refilled. And the only place, the only person, who can fill you in a life-giving way is Jesus. Don’t lean on your own strength, don’t search for the temporary highs of this world, and don’t look for another earthly person to fill the void, my sweet friends. Just look to Jesus.
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mother, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, helping others to see that the heart is what counts most. She blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her in everyday life and contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has eighteen years experience teaching and currently serves as a Parent Coordinator in the Opelika City Schools. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and leading the FBCO Teen Moms group. She lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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Originally published Friday, 24 March 2023.