There have been several seasons in my life when this question, or rather the answer to this question eluded me. Being a stay-at-home mom with three children can be lonely sometimes. Being a full-time grad student while homeschooling and serving on the board of directors for a homeschool group can be stressful. Being anything at any point in our lives can be lonely, hectic, fast-paced, wonderful and joyous. We use these words to describe the place we are in right at the moment. Looking back over the last twenty years of marriage, I can see the different seasons that could be described as everything from lonely to joyous. The times that were the most joy-filled were times when my "cup" was being "filled". These times also reflect the times when I was strengthening my walk with God.
I have spent the past year really seeking what "fills my cup". For me, this is seeking what God seeks to fill my cup. I have some very good friends that have been instrumental in helping me find what fills my cup. This past year I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Linda Werner speak about finding our purpose. (She could have been speaking on an entirely different topic, but this is certainly what I went away with: Leading with my strengths.) There are numerous books about this subject, but I found Strengths Finder 2.0 to be the best "fit" for my learning style. Through this book, or rather the quiz included in it, I was able to finally put into words what strengths God has equipped me with. I can now begin to see a connection with my strengths and how they go hand-in-hand with what fills my cup.
I will always be forever grateful to my friend Mary for helping me understand, process and continue to learn about my strengths and what it means to have my "cup filled." Everyone should be blessed with a friend as gracious and kind as Mary.
Another day I will explain in more detail my strengths, but today I am thinking more about how I find Joy, how my "cup is filled". Sure there are times when our cup is filled with temporary things. There are the "life" cup fillers too. Looking back again over the past twenty years of marriage I am compelled to see that my cup seems most full when I have been creative. Creativity is different for everyone. I find my creativity used when I scrapbook or when I am creating lesson plans or writing. Some days I need finished "product" other days I need to feel accomplished by the number of words I write. Each day is different and there are days when my cup is not completely full, but full enough that I can find Joy.
As I walk through learning more about each of my strengths I am finding stumbling blocks along the way as well. My personality or character is that of serving. My love language is acts of service. I want to do things for those that I love. I love to cook for my family. I love the art of keeping house and home. What I have to be careful of is thinking that it is my job to fill another person's cup. I have wrestled with this thought for many, many weeks. Of course we can see a need in our husband, child or friend and do what we can to help, nurture and listen. In the same token, we can't expect someone to fill our cup. It is ultimately our job to turn to the Lord. He is our ultimate cup filler. My prayer is that you find Joy each and every day.