Overflowing from Above
Willow Creek | February 19, 2021
This weekend, Megan Marshman gave a message that focused on the importance of small groups. She stressed how being in a community with other Christians is not only a way to stay spiritually healthy but also emotionally healthy. To illustrate this, Megan used a cup—a metaphor for our emotional capacity. As Christians, we want to share our cups—especially our love and joy—with others. But as our cups start to empty, where do we turn to fill them up again?
Megan described a time in her life like this: “I would love people, which is well and good…but here is what I was doing: I would hold out my now-empty cup in their direction, to be filled up by their opinions of me…I was waiting to be appreciated, invited, and noticed.” Megan went on to recognize she needed a community of believers to fill her with the truth. “We don’t need to be filled by the love and appreciation of others,” she said, “because we’re already loved by God.”
The cup is a simple illustration, but one that hits home and begs all of us to ask the question, “With whom or what am I allowing to fill my cup? Is my validation and self-worth coming from my Creator, who said I am fearfully and wonderfully made, or is it coming from someplace else?”
Every day we buy into false narratives: If I work overtime, I’ll get their respect; if I look like that, then they’ll love me; if I start doing what they’re doing, then they’ll accept me. When we allow the world to give us our worth, we may feel good for a little while, but it won’t last, and we’ll end up feeling emptier and more lost than we did before. To combat that, Megan highlighted the importance of a Christian community, one that “encourages us to tilt our cup upright.”
We need to be around people who are going to help us keep our true north. We need to be around people who will lovingly step in and remind us of God’s truths when necessary, who tell us, “You don’t need to do that to feel loved; you’re already loved by God. You don’t need a six-figure income to feel worth; don’t you know how much you’re worth to God? Stop trying to manipulate the situation for it to work out. God is in control.”
Willow’s small groups are communities of believers who can encourage you to hold your glass upright. If joining a weekly small group has been on your heart, or you’ve been praying about it, click here. Every week, stories come out of our small groups showing how people feel seen and known and loved. Bring your full self—the good, the bad, and the ugly—to a small group, and be met with a love and compassion the world can’t offer.
Or maybe you’re not ready for small groups. Maybe you feel unsure, unsafe, or vulnerable. If so, who’s one person you can reach out to? One person you trust, whose life is guided by God and the Bible, whom you can ask for guidance, help, and encouragement in making sure your value comes only from God? Schedule time with this person weekly, or even daily, to share how you’re doing.
The world will give us dribs and drabs in our cups, but God fills them with more than enough. Megan put it this way: “When we allow God to fill us, imagine this baby cup under Niagara Falls. God doesn’t just want to fill us; He wants to overflow out of us.”
Instead of being stuck in an earthly perspective, let’s be a community of believers who lift up, encourage, and love one another with biblical truth!