Hi, y’all! Happy Friday! I know Fridays are usually for favorites, and one day I’ll manage to swing around back to that, but today (and for a few Fridays, I think), I want to talk about ways to fill your teapot. Your spiritual teapot, that is.
At this point, you may say to yourself, “She has lost it!”. But this will make sense, I promise! As a Christian, you will sometimes hear people talk about different things you can do that will “fill your cup”, i.e., give you some spiritual nourishment. Common, simple ways to do this would be having daily prayer time, doing a Bible study with others, have a mentor, do a daily devotional, etc.
Years ago, when I was in a Christian sorority in college, we had a tea party for an alumni event one spring. One sweet sister gave a really great devotional message about the difference between being a teacup and a teapot. Teacups are only able to receive. They can be filled and drained, filled and drained, filled and drained all day long. And that’s great– that’s the purpose of a teacup. A teapot, however, you can pour into to fill it, but it can also pour out to fill others. Being a teapot instead of teacup means you take what has been poured into you, and use it to pour into others to help their teapots be filled as well.
Since that day, the phrase “fill my cup” morphed a little instead into “filling my teapot”. Because that’s my goal– I don’t want to be someone (specifically a Christ follower) that requires constant filling but never pours into others. That’s not what the church community is about and it doesn’t really help your needs in the end either.
I’ve always had a walk with the Lord to varying degrees, but have felt a pull the last several years to make it stronger, and more specifically the last year or so for that walk to be the most important relationship in my life, and to let that pour out into my other relationships. I’m not perfect, or really even good at it– it’s a learning process and constant work. But I’ve found different things in my daily life that I think I have helped, which are things I’d like to share in hopes that it helps someone else as well.
I think since getting pregnant, I’ve needed my teapot filled more often and in different ways. Even before getting pregnant, if you are actively trying, you are bombarded with information that isn’t always the most encouraging– statistics, advice, recommendations, etc. Once you do get pregnant, it’s like a switch flips that makes you constantly worried. You are constantly wondering if you are eating the right foods, if you are gaining weight too quickly, if you should or shouldn’t lift that something that wasn’t heavy before, but seems like it would be too heavy now. During the first trimester, I was in a Facebook group with other women who recently found out they were pregnant who had all used the Ava bracelet to help conceive. [Side note (and not a paid sponsorship one): The Ava bracelet is a fertility tracker that monitors about 8 different metrics while you sleep at night to pinpoint your exact ovulation window. It is thought to be more accurate than OPK kits, and measures more to give you a bigger overall fertility picture.] I ordered an Ava after using OPK kits and tracking for 6 months. It arrived in the mail the day after I got a positive pregnancy test. So, in all honesty, I shouldn’t really have been in this group, but I thought it would be a good place for information and questions, etc. Many of these women had been through multiple miscarriages, and were using Ava as a souped up way to help with conception, either with or without fertility treatments, and this meant that I, as a woman with no prior pregnancies that got pregnant in six months, was not really the mean or median demographic of this group. But, I spent weeks and weeks through my first trimester reading post after post from different women citing different symptoms they were having, and asking advice about what it could mean, and if anyone had dealt with something similar. And at times, after that question was asked/ answered/ poured over/ fretted about, the profile would go gray because the poster was no longer a member of the pregnancy support group.
And I was petrified.
Because of that skewed population sample, I felt on edge constantly that something was going to happen, almost like it was a matter of when and not if. My worry meter kicked up to a million notches, and I worried for those girls, and for me, and wondered how children ever actually make it into this world (I still can’t wrap my head around that sometimes). I reminded myself constantly that God was in control, and I would get a temporary peace until the next post came by to worry about.
Until I finally said “enough”.
One of the ways I have needed to fill my teapot is to say “enough” to things that are not actively putting positivity into my life at this current time. Sure, there were some questions that were helpful and useful, but it wasn’t enough to justify all the worry and panic it caused. I think it’s wonderful and necessary to have a place to air concerns and acknowledge situations, and get support, but it needs to be the right place with the right people, and that just wasn’t it for me. I absolutely don’t want to be selfish or sound insensitive and say that the group is just negative and shouldn’t have been causing others to worry, because in all honesty, those were questions those girls needed to ask, and topics they needed to discuss. Some of them were going through some really hard and scary things that I can’t imagine having to go through, and if having that space contributed positivity and reassurance to their lives, then I’m so glad and grateful for that for them. But it wasn’t to mine, and I think it’s okay to acknowledge what is positive/negative for some isn’t always the case for others.
During that time, I had (and still do), a constant part of my daily prayer that says “Fear is not from you, Lord. Worry is not from You. You are hope, You are love, You are light. You calm our fears, our concerns, and our troubles.”
And then, after several weeks, it seemed like it just clicked to get rid of that fear starter. Everyone hears from the time they are a child that you have to “face your fears”, and it may sound cowardly to just get rid of something causing me fear. But I think looking at that particular thing and saying “I have the power to dismiss you from my life because you contribute mainly negativity” is facing and defeating it. It had power over me the longer I stayed, and read, and fretted, and fell down that hole and it wasn’t a necessary part of my life. And now it doesn’t. And if I have questions, or need advice, I have real people in my life that I really trust that I can go to instead.
So, today is a little simple– what things in your life are causing more negativity than positivity? Because you may find that getting rid of them, or changing how you interact with them makes a world of difference in how your teapot is being filled, and how you are filling those around you.
In the coming weeks, my plan is to talk about more specific things I’ve been doing, like podcasts, music, Bible studies, activities, and more, but today, I didn’t want to overload you with this introduction and then another suggestion. Please feel free to leave comments about ways you like to “fill your teapot”!
Linked with Andrea for Friday Favorites!