The Reservoir

There was a mess all over my kitchen counter. My coffeepot had decided to overflow and brown, murky water was everywhere. Something was definitely wrong with my coffeepot, but I couldn’t figure out what was going on. After further inspection, I realized that the water I had placed into the coffeepot was never fully leaving the reservoir. As a result, I had filled the pot to overflowing without realizing that there was still water in the pot from the last time I had made coffee. But what was interesting to note was there was little to no coffee in my stainless steel mug. It seemed that even though there was an abundance of water and coffee, none of it was usable.
The process of making a perfect cup of coffee had been interrupted. The pattern of normal activity had been broken.
A few nights later, I tossed and turned in a hotel room bed, unable to sleep for the thoughts tumbling through my mind. I was so frustrated. I had an 8:30 a.m. presentation on the horizon, and I was afraid that if I didn’t get enough sleep, my presentation would be a train-wreck. I tried to drown out my roommate’s snoring and my whirling thoughts by repeating the lyrics of my original worship song: “May our praise spill over like a river flowing free…” We had just worshipped to the song earlier that morning, and it was fresh in my mind and heart. I tried to pray, but even utilizing the song lyrics in this attempt didn’t accomplish anything. I was over-tired, distracted, and frustrated.
My normal sleep pattern was broken.
I went into my presentation the next morning, feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. Somehow I managed to be coherent and surprisingly perky, but I felt as if I was pretending. My stress load had risen to a ridiculous height over the past few weeks, and my lack of sleep only added to this reality. My thoughts were overwhelmed with everything at once: the friends I constantly prayed for, my financial situation that had yet to be resolved, my springtime allergies that had suddenly made an inconvenient appearance, and the busy Easter season on the horizon… I was very much running on empty and I needed to be filled.
I needed a shift in the pattern— out of the overwhelm and into overabundance.
I returned home after the long day of presenting, eager to just relax. But a friend had invited me to our ladies’ Bible Study, and even though I was exhausted, I agreed to attend. It was the best decision I could have made! True, I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open, but our discussion was meaningful and rejuvenating. We talked about how to relate to others even when we are stressed, overworked, and overtired— even though our instinct might be to lash out or say something that might not necessarily reflect Christ in our lives. And by the end of the evening, I was still physically tired, but I felt a bit of renewal taking place in my heart.
In the coming days, I continued to witness the oh-so-welcome pattern shift. I went into the local coffeehouse to get a much-needed boost of caffeine. (By the way, a friend did manage to get my coffeemaker working again. There was just gunk caught in some of the grooves deep down inside). But that day, I needed real coffee, so I ordered up one of my favorites: the flavor of the day, Carmel Kiss. While I waited for my drink to be delivered to the counter, I struck up a conversation with the coffee shop owner and another customer. I don’t know how our discussion managed to work its way to faith and perspective in the presence of stress and grief, but it did. I was able to share my heart in that moment, and hopefully, I was able to reflect Christ into what could have been a rather heavy interaction.
I was feeling quite a bit lighter as I went to the office that afternoon with my coffee in hand, but nothing could have prepared me for the conversation I would have that evening. I spoke with my sister on the phone hours later as I headed home after hours of working and interacting in another Bible Study. Our conversation started like any other. We hadn’t talked recently, so we interacted with a bit of small talk before we got down to the nitty-gritty of our lives. It seemed we were both dealing with overwhelming stress in our individual lives, but instead of feeding into the temptation to complain to each other, we instead went deeper. We talked about everything from our work-related stressors to concerns with friends and family, to deeper spiritual concepts. Before I knew it, nearly two hours of spirit-stirring conversation had taken place. One might think I would feel heavier after such an intense conversation, but instead, I felt lighter than air.
The pattern shift had finally come. The stress and unrest were still there, but I had new perspective. I wasn’t carrying my struggles alone. My sleep cycle had returned to normal and the coffeemaker was brewing perfect caffeinated gifts each morning. But it was my heart that had experienced the greatest change. I think the conversation with my sister had allowed me to gain the greatest perspective. It reconfirmed to me that my stress level was high due to one specific reason: I loved and loved hard. The people and circumstances that I endured were never far from my mind and heart, and I carried those burdens until they were resolved or I was practically forced to lay them aside. I was on my way to finding a balance between being overwhelmed by my burdens and allowing God to come in and overwhelm me with His love and provision.
As my crazy-busy week drew to a close, I was still contemplating my conversation with my sister. I was feeling reflective and contemplative as I did laundry and cleaned the house. The newest Chris Tomlin album played in the background, and even though the music was great, I didn’t pay any attention to the lyrics until the song “Boundary Lines” began to play. I was struck with the lyrics: “I cannot contain this love… If my heart is a cup Your love is an ocean… You fill me up like rivers overflowing.”
Everything seemed to come full circle in that moment. I might be stressed and overwhelmed, but God knew my heart and what I needed to hear that day. He had already prepared the way with the interactions at Bible Study, at the coffeehouse, and with my sister. It was then that God entered in and reminded me that in Him, my cup could be filled to overflowing. The lyrics to my own worship song came to me in that moment as well, and I trembled to think of the connection. In that moment, I knew I needed to praise Him for His faithfulness and the incredible timing as He acted out His amazing love for me. I stood right there in my laundry room that day and lifted up a heartfelt prayer of gratitude.
The situation wasn’t perfect. The pattern had shifted, but resolution had not fully come yet. I was ready to step out in faith with a heart of praise even in the midst of stress-filled imperfection. God knew what I needed, and He would fill my cup to overflowing no matter how dysfunctional my reservoir.

One thought on “The Reservoir

  1. Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s what I needed to hear, maybe my reservoir has been a little dysfunctional too lately but God is Good and he will fill it abundantly his way in his time!!

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