Thursday, August 12, 2010

Take A Load Off

This morning after coffee at Denny's, a man I respect walked out to the parking lot with me. His name is Richard.

Richard asked me a question. He said, "Mike, I know you are going through a bunch of stuff right now. Are you figuring anything out about yourself?"

I said, "Richard, I have horrible self esteem issues. I feel like I have a hole in the middle of me. For years I have been filling that hole with all of the wrong things. Food, alcohol, legal drugs, work, ministry, people's approval, just about anything I can cram into my hole. It might fill the hole for a moment, a day or a few months but the hole returns." I continued, "Yes, I know what those crazy Christ followers will say. Fill it with Jesus Mike. Fill it with Jesus. That sounds good but I'm not there yet. Richard, I want to sincerely learn that I can fill that hole in the middle of me with Jesus."

Richard looked at me with tears in his eyes. He said, "Mike, first of all you'll never believe how much you and I struggle with the same issues. But most of all I can't believe what you just said. I've known you for awhile and I'm concerned about you. I knew I had to share my heart with you. You said exactly the same stuff I was going to share with you. God had you open up and share it with me instead. I know it sounds weird but you just took a load off my shoulders. You did that by being honest and open with me."

Richard hugged me and wiped his eyes. We both got into our cars and drove away.

Honesty + Transparency = a load off of you and possibly someone else.


  1. This is honest. You just took a load off my shoulders. I have a huge hole in my heart too, and I'm just too scared to admit it.

  2. Yeah, I'm one of those crazy Christ followers. But I'm not going to tell you to fill that hole with Jesus.

    I'm going to tell you that Jesus is waiting to fill the hole in the middle of Him with you. He loves you, Mike. He desires you the way you've desired all that other junk.

    I love that the hole I still have inside of me, for all the things my life lacks now, are a reminder of everything Jesus wants to fill in me, in time. He gives enough grace for the day, if I just come to Him for it.

  3. My friend and pastor (back when he was blogging) wrote a series of posts entitled "Full". In part one, he talked about the "God-shaped hole" concept we often use to describe our tendancy to fill ourselves up with everything except for God. Hope you don't mind, but I found his research interesting, and I wanted to share it with you:

    "What is it then that this desire and this inability proclaim to us, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which there now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present? But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object,that is to say, only by God Himself."

    -Blaise Pascal - The Pensées
    #425, Section VII. From "Morality and Doctrine"

    Unless I'm mistaken, this is the actual passage that has been reduced to "Everybody has a God-shaped hole in their life." Even if it's not, I'm glad I found it, because this statement more accurately describes the kind of longing that I have known. I know without a doubt that the absence of God in my life would not produce a "God-shaped hole." Instead, it would leave me with a massive, gaping wound from which the entirety of myself as I know it would be drained. Without God I would be empty.

    "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." - John 10:10

    So why is it then, that someone can be a Christ-follower and agree that they would be empty without God, but also have to admit that they don't exactly feel full with Him?

    Maybe we don't feel "full" of God because we're still too full of ourselves.

    (I know that last statement is true for me. I pray for more of Him and less of me every day. Thanks for sharing your journey, Mike.)

  4. Mike, we've interacted on Twitter and I've read a few posts and have been praying for you. I subscribed to your feed today and want to be a part of what God is doing in and through you.

    This is an amazing post with such rich truth in it. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

  5. That's powerful Mike. Forgive me for not having the discernment to realize that at the time. I was so full of myself back then. Phil F.

  6. Mike... i love you, and i'm glad that you and i are friends...