Running on Empty
By Dr. Rex Psychologist, retired
I have been interested lately in how people fill their emptiness; e.g.
I’ve therefore looked at some of my third rate substitutes with which I try to fill that empty spot within myself.
Here are a few thoughts on the matter:
1- If God alone could be used to fill my emptiness, I’d never bother playing with the other kids on the block.
2- Drug addictions today are common methods of trying to escape emptiness. But they lead to greater isolation and aloneness.
3- The very best marriages still have some measure of emptiness in them. Don’t crush your mate expecting them to fill more of this measure than is realistic.
Invariably, people don’t always know what to fill their emptiness with.
It’s like they are looking for something that’s missing, but never finding it.
My answer to this search, for me, is better contact…much better contact with others.
Unfortunately, better contact is limited by self-honesty, and self-honesty is limited by pride.
Curiously, there is another limitation—too much investment in worldly things. You see, I cannot be any more honest with you than I am with myself. And if I spend all my time obsessing about worldly things, I have no time to reflect on my own growth.
I like the example of a mother with eleven kids. She is so busy looking after her own kids, she has little time to consider her own growth and nurture. In fact, she sees such business as a virtue.
There are many good things that lure us away from the better and even the best things. I do it all the time. Often, doing good things is the enemy of doing better things. I call this a form of denial; avoidance and escape from self.
Begin a life of greater contentment by facing emptiness with such honesty.
Jackson Browne, one to practice self-honesty, wrote a great song. Here’s the first verse and chorus.
“Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty five I was seventeen and running up one on one
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on
Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun”
King Solomon noted:
“No one else can really know how sad or happy you are.” Proverbs 14:10 CEV
St. Paul confessed:
“…for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 NASB
“Then Jesus said to them all,
“Watch yourselves! Keep from wanting all kinds of things you should not have.
A man’s life is not made up of things, even if he has many riches.” Luke 12:15 NLV