Saturday, July 19, 2014

Half Full.... But Of What?

I've always thought of myself as a glass half full kind of gal, and sometimes even full to overflowing. I think it is significant to point out that even in my deepest darkest days of depression I've still felt my cup was half full.

This morning though, I was struck with the thought, half full of WHAT?

I guess it hit me as I was kicking a pair of shoes back into the closet, trying to take a short cut to putting something away, a short cut that ended up taking longer than just doing it the right way in the first place, because as I kicked, my little toe, which has been outfitted with a GPS specially designed for finding sharp corners, connected with the said sharp corner and the words that flew out of my mouth as I hopped on one foot, were nothing to be proud of.

This follows a day last week when I found myself screaming obscenities into the tub of my washing machine as I worked to untangle a pair of panties that had twisted itself around the agitator, sucking everything else in the wash into its vortex. The only thing that kept me from popping a blood vessel was to finally walk away knowing there was a chocolate bar in the freezer, and really, is twisted knickers worth having a hemorrhage over?

I've always known there were things to be thankful for, things to believe in, things to hope for. That's what makes me the glass half full person that I am. But when I find myself irritated by little things, when someone says something that sounds remotely critical and my first reaction is one of defensiveness, when I find myself erecting the old wall around my tender spots... well, that makes me wonder just where my attitude really falls in the glass empty/glass full category. 

What struck me this morning is that sometimes there's vinegar in my cup. 

So I ruminated on this, while rubbing my toe and then getting dressed (and why are these panties all stretched to hell? .........OH. Yah.) I knew there was some life lesson tied in with this and so I wouldn't forget this moment I posted something to that effect on my Facebook status. Then I went to my women's writers group and in the meeting room of the coffee house we meet at, I saw a poster on the wall of a mug spilling over with coffee beans that said "Half Full or Half Empty; it really doesn't matter if your cup is half full or half empty, it's what's in the cup that matters." 


Ooookay. Obviously this is a thought I DO need to spend some time on. Maybe I am an optimist, and filled with hope but there's a sour side to me that comes to the surface every now and again. I find it rises most often when surrounded by people I don't trust. I'm not talking about being discerning here. I'm talking about people whom I know have the capability of hurting me. People who I've let get close only to be stomped on. People I trusted only to be let down. People who've proved to be less than I believed they would be. 

Well, shoot, that's just about everybody in the world. We all fall down in our relationships. No matter how well meaning we are, we just fail from time to time. I fall often. I fail often. I've experienced it with family and friends and I know they've been on the receiving end of my foibles. 

What happens is that because I've been let down, I start coming to expect it. Take for example my mother. (Please, take my mother.) I love my mom. Of course I do. But she is, God bless her, NOT the happiest camper in the campground. I think it's safe to say my mother is a glass half empty individual. She can be cranky, difficult, sulky, cranky, obstinate, hard to please, did I say cranky? So, when ever I go to visit her, I go wearing my armor. I have come to expect that she will say something that will push a button. I expect she will be argumentative, she will whine, she will berate me and be ungrateful. I know for sure she's going to be cranky. And you know what? I'm usually right. She dishes out exactly what I was expecting. I was right to put up my guard. But in doing so, I find I hold back some of my love. My cup has vinegar in it.

I think about how Christ loves. Fully. Completely. Unconditionally. There's no vinegar in His Cup. And don't I, as a Christ follower, want to be more like Christ? Live like Christ? Love like Christ? Oh, that my cup would overflow, overflow with the sweetest honey. 

What will it take to ensure my cup is sweet? 

The fruits of the Spirit include love. I think that's where I begin. I state right here on my blog that I am loving fully but I am being convicted as I write this. I've placed conditions and restrictions on my heart. I like the idea of loving fully but if I am really honest with myself, I've been holding back. Sure, I can make a case for protecting myself but it comes right back again to living my life as a Christ follower. Ephesians 5.2 says "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." 

In "My Utmost for His Highest" Oswald Chambers says "Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer—to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice."

In Philippians 2.17 Paul wrote: But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.

Oswald goes on to say: It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. ...  Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket—to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted—not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? 
Yet I know, if I walk away from this conviction, if I shelve it until I feel stronger, or more ready to commit, I will effectively be denying Jesus. I already feel twisted up inside, much like those poor little panties were, and I know that God is calling me to go deeper with Him. If I want my cup to be full and sweet, I must respond. I must say "Yes." 


  1. so beautifully written, Robyn. I've been a doormat for my m-i-l for almost 30 years until a few months ago when she spilled acid on me (which didn't really matter), and a pregnant Maddie (that really mattered. something fundamentally changed in me that day in regards to my m-i-l--I stopped being a doormat. I'm polite and kind, but I'm not groveling any more. and yet I'm torn--there's a part of me that thinks I need to go back into the ring with a soft and loving heart--in spite of everything. but I don't know. these last few months have been a respite--and I've had so many other very important family matters to focus on. but I will dwell on these words/reminders you've written.

    1. Oh Lisa....
      I am truly struggling with Oswald's words. Doormat? Really? I was my ex's doormat for 15+ years! I'm not going there again!

      But I don't think Christ expects us to operate without boundaries. What I do think is that He wants me to love boundlessly. Without borders. And I know I've been holding back. It will be interesting to see how I can love unconditionally while still maintaining my boundaries. I know for sure it won't happen overnight and it won't be easy. But then following Him never is...


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