It was a blissful morning right around 8:30 with a cool breeze, cerulean blue skies, and a whisp of whimsy floating in the air. The sound flowing through my car audio was the sound of the Bible being read aloud. Life was filling my reservoirs. The reading was followed by a passionate prayer to take on the day. I stepped out of the car and gave a long well-deserved stretch with arms to the sky with a smile inside like a full glass of water ready to quench the thirst of the day. I stepped towards my mission, to encourage 80 workers at a workplace. I was working as a chaplain caregiver to workplaces where I would walk through and offer a word of encouragement and offer care for those who needed it. I strutted up the stairs and threw open the workplace door to find the first recipient of my full cup. I extended my hand with an enthusiastic greeting that invited the person to share. They shared, and shared, and shared, and complained, and rambled, and dumped, and drained. At the end of about 10 minutes, my full overflowing cup was now depleted halfway. I still had 79 people to go and my cup was half drained. With the endurance of a runner, I quickly gathered my stamina and shook off the depletion of the first of 79 miles of running. I grabbed a quick breath of air and walked to my next person to encourage. This person was full of joy and fulfillment. Like an artesian spring, my cup began to overflow with words of energy, encouragement, life, and hope.
Can you relate to my story? Ever walk into work full from the weekend only to be met by a notice on your desk that says, “SEE ME” from your boss? How about the phone ringing first thing with news that your wife has a flat tire and YOU are the only one who can change it? You check the balance of the bank account only to notice that there are purchases from a state you don’t live in for things you didn’t buy! What happens to all of us is usually a state of inner freak out followed by choice words then quickened action to put out the fire or squash the problem or better yet face the music. We can show up as full as an overeating bullfrog yet can be drained within a matter of minutes!
We all have an invisible cup inside. Our cup is either full, empty, or somewhere in between. It is extremely important for you to know you have a cup and for you to know what level your cup is at. The level of your cup determines your ability to function at a high level with optimal efficiency and vision or at a low level with an inability to see yourself or your situation. To be clear, your cup determines your ability to see the world around you accurately and to see yourself in this world. It is a big deal to be able to see accurately. Imagine you are a pilot flying a plane full of people yet have zero visibility. Zero visibility is super scary! Here’s the point, you are that pilot and you are leading your family, or you are leading yourself, maybe you are in charge of a business or a group of people. Zero visibility is not only scary it can lead to bad results quickly. Being able to see accurately is vital to life and living yet with an empty cup your vision leaves making you dependant upon air traffic control (if you are lucky) or dependant upon your instincts to fly with zero vision.
The opposite effect is just as powerful, a full cup gives you crystal clear vision with an ability to see super clear. Have you ever been at 10,000 feet on a clear day? This is life with a full cup. You can see for miles and miles. With a full cup, you can’t miss! Your instincts are sharp, your vision is good, stamina is high and relationships are easy! Why would we ever settle for a drained cup? The problem is most of us are drained and don’t even know it.
Here’s what I want you to do. First, I want you to identify the fact that you and I have this invisible cup inside. Understand that this cup is paramount to your ability to see and to function at a high level. Second, I want you to be able to identify what level your cup is at. If your level is high you are functioning at an optimal level, if it is low you are probably struggling with problems you can’t even make out clearly. Third, I want you to practice owning your cup and ensuring that it is full. Take responsibility for your own well being, make choices to ensure your cup is at the highest level possible. Fourth, I want you to make it your goal to identify the level of those around you, at work, home, at the dinner table. If your kids are acting up I guarantee their cup is empty. If an employee is not performing at an optimal level, find out what is draining their cup.
Imagine yourself showing up on Monday morning with a full cup rather than an empty one. Better yet imagine showing up at the end of the day and being able to identify your spouse’s cup level or your kid’s cup level. Armed with this new ability you can win wherever you are whatever stage of life you are in. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to test this out. Answer these simple questions: How full is your cup right now? What can you do to fill your cup? How can you be a cup filler for others?
Go change the world by owning your cup!
I get so scared when I write these blogs. Putting a piece of yourself out for the world to see is both exhilarating and exhausting. I would much rather hide and be safe. We are like this you know, you and I. We have the primitive part of our brain called the Lizard Brain (look it up I’m not lying). Apparently this area of our brain is responsible for telling our body that something is about to eat us so be safe. The problem is there are very few things that are going to eat us today yet the Lizard brain still thrives.
If nothing is going to eat us and the Lizard brain still thrives, what does it thrive on? Your Lizard brain and my Lizard brain thrives on anything it perceives as scary. For some of you simply leaving the house feeds your Lizard brain. Others of you the thought of applying for a job, or asking her out, or getting a different haircut feeds your Lizard. Even deeper, the thought of quitting your job to step into a calling, or leaving an abusive relationship, setting boundaries with a controller all feed the Lizard brain.
God says in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Take that you Lizard Brain!!! With God we can defeat the Lizard brain once and for all right? I wish it were that easy. May I offer you a few practical things to help you defeat this?
Start by identifying the thing you are most afraid of. By merely identifying it and calling it to your conscious mind you weaken the power and make it changeable. There is something powerful when you are fully aware of something. The power lies in the ability to shape and change. God has given each of us a mind to be renewed and this only happens when you call something out of the depths of your mind to the aware part. Once you have it fully in your mind you then have power over it. Find something true that speaks to the fear. If you are unable to find something true, simply google, “what does the bible say about….”, then you can research and fill your mind with something true.
Once you are aware, then fill your mind with what is true, repeat for no less than 28 days. I know I just lost you there. This is how long it takes to cover over the dirt road tracks that have been formed in your brain and to begin to carve out new pathways. Scientists called this concept neuroplasticity, people of faith call this renewing the mind. I promise if you will do this you will begin to see action happen.
Once you have practiced this, you will literally have changed the physiological structure of your brain to where it no longer goes down the old dirt road of Lizard like fear and instead travels the new dirt road of truthful belief.
I had to practice this over and over just to write this blog and publish it. I have a very strong Lizard brain that I have been feeding for years. The only way to defeat it is to run straight at it. Don’t run until you have done your work on the inside first. Do you dirt road re-work, mind renewal then run straight at the fear. Guess what happens when you run right at fear, it dissipates like cotton candy on the roof of your mouth. Then maybe you will begin to step into the future meant for you as you confront fear with truth.