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Sheri Wohlfert challenges a popular self-care mantra that doesn't leave room for God.

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. (2 Corinthians 12:9) 

I have seen these words several times lately: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” I suppose there is truth to that saying and I think the original intent was great. I think it’s important to take care of yourself -- but the more I think about it, the more I see it differently. Honestly, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it bugged me and I found it completely false. I scratched my head, wondering why I was reacting so stubbornly to a line meant for good.

After lots of thought and prayer, I realized God was using this line to get under my skin and remind me of some important things I had been forgetting. Since I can’t seem to get this off my mind, I’m guessing this might be a message some of you need to hear too.


3 bright-colored cups and saucers, empty, cups tipped on their sides


The truth is, YES YOU CAN! We do it all the time. As parents, teachers, and friends we often give even when we don’t think there is anything left in the tank. If a child comes to me frustrated and hurting, I’m sure not going to look at them and say, “Sorry, child, please come back when I’ve had a little Me Time.” If a co-worker, parent or friend stops in to share their struggles, I’m not going to ask them to come back after I’ve taken a nap.

Teaching during a pandemic has stretched me so far I thought I’d snap, but as teachers we just keep finding a little more in the cup to pour out. As parents, we do the same again and again and again. We just keep pouring, hoping there are enough drops left to get us through the day.

The world would have us believe that success depends on our effort and energy. The world would have us believe that we deserve to be happy and we have to carve out that happy time ourselves and we deserve to take time for ourselves to re-charge ... so we can do more stuff. The world would have us believe that if our cups aren’t full we will crumble up in a heap in the corner somewhere.

As usual, the world doesn’t get it right! Thank goodness we have something more truthful, hopeful and joyful to turn to: a Father who loves us so enormously we will never be empty.

The Father lovingly reminded me that He’s in charge of my cup! It is precisely in those moments I feel like I have nothing left to give I’m supposed to turn to Him and He will give me EVERYTHING I need … He will give me EVERYTHING He’s asking me to give to one of His children. He will give me more than enough. His love, His grace, His compassion is more than enough!


Pray continuously throughout the day as you pour again and again from your cup. #catholicmom

One last lesson: don’t wait until you feel empty to turn to Him. Pray continuously throughout the day as you pour again and again from your cup, because sometimes we pour things out in places He hasn’t called us to pour. The final reminder were words spoken in the Gospel when Jesus said “I have not come to be served but to serve.” Those words are our mission on earth too. I’m supposed to serve God and serve others and I suppose the emptier my cup, the more I have done the work the Father put me on this earth to do and that should bring a joy that fills my cup to overflowing.

This life really isn’t about me at all, and I needed to be reminded of that. Worrying about MY cup and expecting to always feel good about life is crazy, but trusting the the Father will always make sure I have what I need to pour brings a sense of peace and contentment to these crazy days. I think the saying should be “I serve a God who always fills my cup!”

A Seed To Plant: Spend a few extra minutes in prayer these next days and don’t forget to take your cup to the Father for a refill.

4 bright colored cups, empty


Copyright 2021 Sheri Wohlfert
Image: Canva Pro