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When Our Hearts Run Dry


I carefully approach the aged water well. It stands alone in the midst of overgrown weeds, barely visible to passersby. Yet I am drawn to it. My curiosity calls to me. I question when it was last used for its intended purpose. Is it entirely dry, empty, and worthless? Or is there more here than meets the eye?

I lean over, peering into the darkness. I press a jagged rock tightly into the palm of my right hand. I wonder what lies below, yet the uncertainty of it frightens me. So I hold on to the rock until its impression is fixed into my skin. Finally, sheepishly, I release it. And I wait expectantly, breathlessly. Until I hear it. The thud of the rock as it encounters the hardened, bone-dry floor.

And I weep.

I weep, for to me it represents so much more than a dried up well. It reminds me of the many women I’ve met, those precious sisters whose hearts have run dry. Who feel empty and worthless.

Those who feel as if they’ve dished out all the goodness they have to offer, and it’s not enough. They’re scraping the bottom for what is not there because that’s all they know to do. They give and give until there is nothing left. They are that weathered well, standing alone, overcome by the weeds of life. Pressed on every side. Spent. Exhausted. Depleted.

If this is where you are today, my friend, please know you are not alone. May I say it again? You. Are. Not. Alone. And you are not destined to remain stuck in your emptiness. Neither am I.

I’ve noticed depletion seems to be commonplace in many of our honest, day to day, jam-packed, wonderfully blessed lives. It is there. It is real. It is relentless. And it makes it tough to flash a genuine smile, speak words of encouragement, or extend grace to others when we’re pulling from a dry well ourselves.

But may I share some encouragement with you? May I show you a parallel between this old, dried up well and our thirsty hearts?

A drought, if ignored, will cause a water well to run dry, but not without first handing out some clear warning signs. If these signs are noted and dealt with in a timely manner, the well will continue to function as designed.

The same is true of us.

The warning signs in our lives are flashing red, reminding us we are nearing empty. These indicators typically stand out in how we respond to what is going on around us. Perhaps we are quick to anger, become easily frustrated, or tear up over the tiniest of matters. Any of these responses may be evidence that our hearts desperately need refilling. If we’re paying attention to this behavior, we will notice trouble is brewing. And then, in that moment, we realize the choice becomes ours.

We decide whether or not our hearts run dry.

Do we ignore the warnings and continue at lightning speed, or do we slow down and receive some pick-me-up along the way? Do we settle for life as it is, or do we resolve to make it better?

Our decision is crucial.

Our choice becomes the game changer.

I believe most of you desire to live as I do, from a place of fullness. But how, sweet friends, do we go about doing so when life is so hectic, demanding, and frenzied?

We pause, though the world spinning around us may not.
We pray, asking God to help us find balance and pour His love into our weary hearts. Please, please don’t skip your time with God. He is our ultimate source of fullness.
We pursue “happy getaways.” Yes, happiness is okay (just make sure your “happy” lines up with God’s goodness – that’s a topic for another day).

Just for fun, here are 10 mini-getaway ideas to get you started:

  • Curl up with your best-loved book.
  • Participate in a ladies’ Bible study.
  • Share a cup of coffee with a friend or two.
  • Treat yourself to a new hair style or an outfit that makes you feel pretty.
  • Enjoy a no-distractions date with your significant other.
  • Take a nap.
  • Snuggle with your littles.
  • Sit, unrushed, with your aging relatives.
  • Watch your all-time favorite chick-flick.
  • Take a walk and listen to encouraging music as you do so.

Friends, when done correctly, making time for ourselves is not selfish. It is nourishing. It is you placing the oxygen mask on yourself before placing it on others. Not because you consider yourself more important, but because you know you cannot fully care for them unless you are healthy yourself.

In summary, (1) realize you need to be refreshed; (2) know what little things bring you blessing and joy (and honor God as you do them); and (3) determine to incorporate them into the crevices of your everyday life.

As you do so, may you find yourself empty less often, and may you pour kindness, encouragement, and grace into the thirsting hearts of those around you.

Originally published on Reprinted with permission.

Sheila Daniel is a wife, a mom, and a Mia (her own special word for grandma). She’s been married to her husband Brad for nearly thirty years, and enjoys assisting him with the youth ministry at their local church. She has had the privilege of homeschooling all five of their children, two of which have already graduated into the next phase of life. After years of longing to share her words with others, she is finally pursuing her dream of writing. Her prayer and heartfelt desire is to bring truth and encouragement to women in all walks of life whether it be through her blog posts, magazine articles, or intentional daily interactions. Sheila and her family live in a small community near Little Rock, Arkansas. Grab your favorite coffee or tea and visit her at SheilaDanielBlog.

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