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My Cup Runneth Over

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PicturePhoto credit bridgetstraub.com

This week in my online Bible study on the book A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope of Proverbs 31 Ministries, we talked about ย the things in our lives that filled us up, that made us feel whole, complete. ย We were to think of ourselves as empty vessels, ones that we hold out to others to fill up.

This lesson made me think back to a story my mom had shared with me through one of those chain emails long ago.

The story talked about a college professor that presented his class with a question as he poured a bag of golf balls into an empty mayonnaise jar (it must have been the kind you get from Sam’s Club because my mayo jars wouldn’t fit more than one or two balls). ย He asked the class, is this jar full? ย Seeing that the jar was filled to the top of golf balls, they said “yes”. The professor then poured a bag of pebbles into the jar and shook it so that they rolled around and filled up the empty spaces between the balls. ย Again he asked the question, is it full? ย The class responded again, “yes”. ย He then picked up a bag of sand in which he poured over the pebbles and balls, twisting the jar slightly to allow the sand to work its way into the even smaller crevices, until the sand reached the top of the jar. ย He asked the class again, is it full? ย A unanimous “yes” resounded. ย Then the professor produced two cups of coffee which he then poured over the sand as the class laughed.

He told the class that the jar represented life. ย The golf balls are the important things – God, family, children, health, friends, and our passions. ย Things that if we lost, would make our life feel empty. ย The pebbles are the things that matter such as our jobs, our house, our cars. ย And the sand is everything else – the small stuff. ย He went to on to explain that if the sand was put in first, there would be no room for the pebbles or golf balls, and the same goes for life. ย That if we focus on the small stuff, we’ll never have room to appreciate the important things.

A student inquired what the two cups of coffee represented. ย The professor chuckled and said that he was glad that they had asked, that it shows that no matter how full our lives may be, there’s always room for a couple cups of coffee with a friend.

Renee recorded a very powerful video for us to watch (see the video to the right, or click hereย to watch) that talked more about those things that we fill up our vessels with. She uses the visuals, just as the professor did of filling up a jar of the things that we think are the most important, the things that we gather our self-worth from.

We fill our vessels with friends and family.
We fill them with our jobs and our hobbies.
Our vessels are filled with material possessions.

We find our vessels to be rather full and we haven’t even found a place to put God and our faith.

She talks about the desires of our heart, that we desire for an unfailing love, one that will sustain through all things. The use of this word, “desire” comes from the Hebrew word “ta’avah” which means to long for, or deeply desire or crave. ย That sounds about right, doesn’t it? ย We long for a loving family and supportive friends. ย We long for the perfect job and crave time spent enjoying our hobbies. ย We long for the big paycheck that will allow us to feed our cravings for that brand new car or bigger home. ย But again, we’re putting fleeting things in place of the unfailing and unconditional love that we desperately want and crave. ย We need to first fill ourselves up with the unfailing love of God and the other pieces will fall into place.
[Tweet “Try looking UP instead of OUT for satisfaction.”]
Even if we fill ourselves up with the unfailing love of God, we’re human and so we trip and let Him spill out and to keep ourselves feeling full, we hold out our jars for anything that is willing to fill up the empty spaces, and that is when doubt settles itself in, or fear, or feelings of unworthiness.

In the third chapter of our book, Renee talks about how to turn those instances around, through the use of “When-Then” statements. ย These statements are those that will help you move from the situations in which you feel like all hope is lost, into a place where you can be filled with the unfailing love and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. ย As a part of the online study, we were encouraged to write our own. ย Here is mine…

I tend to wallow in worries and frustrations which flair up my anxieties and set me on edge, soโ€ฆ

WHEN I find myself caught in the darkness of worries and doubts, THEN I will stop, take a deep breath and pray for God to take all of my worries and replace them with His light. I will focus and meditate on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious โ€“ the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not to curse, for I know that He cares for me and will work me into His most excellent harmonies.
(1 Peter 5:7 NLT, Philippians 4:8 MSG)

Though I wrote this statement yesterday, I wasn’t sure that it was something that would ever be put to use. ย There I go, doubting again! ย And like many say, that when you’re working to walk with Jesus, the evil one comes at you ten times harder, and so last night it took everything I had in me to hold back the tears as I sat and watched my favorite show at my parents’ house because a nagging at my heart took hold of me, saying that I was unworthy and would never amount to anything. ย I drove home with tears streaming down my face and proceeded to head to bed. ย As is typical, I can’t shut off the lights without checking social media one last time, and so I launched my FB app to find the video I had posted a few weeks back.

(Please don’t skip over this, it’s a video I feel that everyone needs to watch…and often.)

Ladies, you can watch your video here. ย Guys, you can watch the men’s video here. ย There is an ASL version available here.

[row-start] [one-third][/one-third] [one-third][/one-third] [one-third][/one-third] [row-end]
I watched the women’s version of the video and immediately felt that no matter my situation, God would see me through.

This morning I woke up to find an email from a business encounter that did not go as planned, one that made me lose a bit more faith in humanity. ย I fought the feeling of anger welling up in me and begged God to let me use the energy that I was expending in feeling angry to do something good today. ย I asked Him to help me find a way to find some positive in the day. And I walked out my back door to find this…


My God reminds me that He will never leave me or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5c)
Yesterday ended rocky, but it also came with a reminder of who I am IN HIM. ย Today started out pretty rough, but quickly I was reminded about His unfailing love, no matter the struggles I face. ย Today, my cup runneth over with His love.
Note: Some of the links above are my affiliate links which means,ย at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase. Thank you for your support in this way!

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  1. What a blessing it was to read your post. Very thought provoking and insightful. I loved your pix of the cup runneth over and how you summed up with your cup runneth over. Amen, He loves us like to the moon and back and then infinitely move. Blessings to you and your family!!
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Trish (OBS small group leader)

    1. Thank you, Trish! I am so happy that you were touched by this post. I wish I could take credit for the picture of the cup, but I actually found it on another blog. However, it does help to convey the message of just how infinitesimal His love really is, such my bigger and stronger than anything we can capture or conceive. Be blessed!

  2. Thanks for sharing, it was definitely thought provoking. So many times we think about getting just “One More Thing” to be happy – when we really need the Lord to be our ALL. He is so worthy! I chased after money with a job opportunity, ended up divorced and alone- then my job laid most of us off and I was left with nothing but bills. Awesome God finally got my attention and I learned such a valuable lesson. Now I am content where I am and with what ever He chooses to give me. And my cup runneth over too!! God Bless and continue to seek his glory

    1. Cherie,
      Your outlook on the events of your life is so inspiring! It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that one more accomplishment or achievement will put us in the position we need to be to feel complete. However, sometimes you must be brought to your knees in order to stand. Keep looking up instead of out and you will find what you’ve been searching for! Many blessings to you and your future!

      1. Thanks for the blessings Bree. I was literally brought to my knees, and even thought I should just end it all – but that was when God spoke to my heart. I am so glad I listened to Him and since that day I have been steadily growing closer to Him and even though I still make my share of mistakes and need His forgiveness each day -I am closer to Him than ever and feel His presence with me more all the time. He fills me with His joy, so that I can’t even explain it. There are days I don’t have anything wonderful happen – but still I feel joyful and thankful to our Father. He loves us and will never leave us alone. How awesome is that! We are daughters of The King with full rights to His love and blessings. Many blessings to you in His Holy name!

      2. Oh no! I thought I had posted a response to your message on 10/26, Cherie, but it didn’t post and not it won’t give me an option to reply to that specific thread. Gotta love technology!
        I’m so blessed to hear how God has been working through your experiences to bring you to a place full of joy. Isn’t funny how when we are wrapped up in our struggles we feel as though God has abandoned us, but when we look back we see how he was holding us all along, working in His ways to bring us to a place that is better than we could have ever imagined!?! Love that! May you continue to grow in knowledge of His everlasting presence and peace. Be blessed!

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