On Empty
by Jen Hatmaker on March 20th, 2012

In certain ways, I’m a typical first-born overachiever. I was filling calendars with due dates and meetings back in junior high. When I figured out you could wear a bunch of tassels on your robe if you graduated with honors, it became my life mission. I calculated how many B’s I could get in college and still graduate Magna Cum Laude, and I hunted that dog down, lobbying for every 89% like some sort of freak. Impending deadlines? I am an animal. I like my life to go by the book. Which book? Whichever one everyone is yammering about.

But in other ways I am a nincompoop.

I once employed a rather consistent habit of running out of gas. I was always perplexed to feel my car sputtering, assuming I was losing my tranny or throwing a piston. As it turns out, you need fuel to keep your car moving forward. Or it will sputter. And quit moving forward. Evidently, there is a little gauge to help you determine when this moment is drawing nigh, and one must pay attention to the little gauge. The gauge is helpful. The gauge is our friend. Except when you ignore the gauge and find yourself stranded on the side of I-35. Again.

May I so truthfully confess to you that I am running out of gas? I’m beyond the sputtering stage. The car is coasting to a dead stop, and I’m stuck on the side of the road, on empty.


The gauge has been trying to tell me I was in trouble, but I had places to go, so I kept driving. These places are important, you see, and people were counting on me to get there, to show up. They still are.

This is a terrible time to discover I am out of gas. Why, just this morning, I signed a contract to write a 9-week DVD curriculum for 7. Due in less than three months, including a week of filming. I have a live webcast in one hour and four minutes. I have events the next two weekends, where women will tell me their stories, will need me to be present and engaged, where I’ll once again have to pour my heart out teaching, which is something like running a marathon without the weight loss. And then I’ll come home and not have three seconds to recover before every person in this family needs me, because that’s what families do; they need each other.

The signs have been there, dragging the gauge toward E: The loneliness and isolation, the disconnection from my community. The arguing and nitpicking and defensiveness. The shallow well of patience. The tears coming too easily, too quickly. The sense of being utterly overwhelmed. The feeling that expectations were snaking around me, entangling, dragging me to the bottom of a murky lake where there was no oxygen, because it is debilitating to keep hearing “you’re so awesome” when I know I’m not.

I hit a wall this morning where there was just nothing left.

A black pit lodged in my stomach and I ground to a halt.

I should’ve read the gauge several miles back, when I was disconnecting from real live human people because the ones on the computer were so abundant and urgent and insistent. You’re real too, good readers, but there are so many of you and you’re everywhere. Meanwhile, I have these people right here, right in front of me, connected to me by blood and love and proximity and community, and I’ve learned I can’t multiply like I thought; I mostly divide.

I should’ve read the gauge several miles back, when this feeling of impending doom would overtake me before an event, assuring me that I will never, never live up to the expectations people have of me. When I would read on Twitter: “Jen Hatmaker is up next! She is going to kill it!” and I wanted to dissolve, because maybe I won’t kill it at all; I don’t always kill it. That my life is way more ordinary than you think it is, and I feel like a caricature because the parts of me that you see are the parts I’ve let you see, and the picture is incomplete. This is heavy knowledge.

My marriage needs me. My kids need me. My friends need me. (You know what all my friends say to me these days: “I miss you.”) I need time with Jesus, without thinking about how I’m going to teach His life-giving words to others.

I want to loan every one of you my influence for your good causes, for your passions and adoptions and fundraisers and mission work, but I just can’t. I want to partner with all of you and help do it all, all the good work, all the important work that we care about so much, but I just can’t. I want to say yes to every conference you invite me to, I really do because I know you love your people so much and you want to see God’s kingdom come in your faith community, but I just can’t.

I wish I could Skype into all your 7 Book Clubs. I wish I could record a personal message for the launch of your Spring Bible Studies. I wish I could endorse every one of your books, because I’m so proud of you and know exactly how thrilling this is. I wish I could write a blog for all your important things. I wish I could move the needle forward on all your adoption questions. I wish I could have coffee with every one of you visiting Austin. I wish I could call you and talk about how to get your book published. I wish I could speak the exact, healing words you need as your marriage is crumbling in Michigan. I wish I could adequately express – with all the words and space necessary – how much every single kind, encouraging, inspiring email moves me and lifts me.

But I’m on empty, dear ones.

I’m reminded of (the most moving, amazing, brave, remarkable) blog series by Beth Moore’s sister, Gay, who charted her course from full-blown alcohol addiction to freedom. Oh, it’s so moving. So extraordinary and beautiful. But this one thing she wrote stuck with me:

“When God jerked me up off that concrete in mid-April 2009, He dropped me in AA, not in church…I had to do something different which was ANYTHING but sitting around waiting for Him to heal me and DOING nothing…He has required a lot of work from me, a lot of action, one day at a time, whatever He put in front of me that day.”

I so appreciate this brave statement. God isn’t going to magically restore healthy rhythms and boundaries in my life without my cooperation. He never asked me to spread too thin or nurture unhealthy habits or try to live up to some reputation. He didn’t say, “Do more. Do everything.” Those are on me. I did that. That’s my pride and selfishness and ego and ambition rising up, trampling down the beloved things, the necessary things.

I, too, need to do something different.

Some things that will take work and commitment, restraint and discipline. I don’t even know what they are yet. I need to remember what is “best” and refuse to let the “good” steal it away, because I could spend my last living breath on the good; it’s plentiful. These are going to be hard, because I’ve burrowed down into something of a dark place, and the very things needed to pull out are the same ones I’ve lost energy for, kind of like wanting to lose weight without dieting or working out.

Lastly, God has me thinking of you, as He so often does. It occurs to me that some of you are in the exact.same.place. Which comforts me, readers, but it also makes me sad for us. If you are on empty today, having expended all you have to give and sitting stranded on the side of the highway, may I suggest that perhaps this is not the very worst place to be, that sometimes the car running out of gas is a gift, because otherwise you'd never stop?

This very morning, as I was writing the third paragraph of this blog, my Lifeway event leader sent an email to the speaking team for our Abundance event in Houston this weekend from 2 Kings 3, when God led his people into the desert:

I wanted to pass along the devotion I shared with our team here this morning before we prayed over you, our attendees, and all aspects of the Abundance event this weekend.

I had this devo from Streams in the Desert back in December but saved it because it impacted me so.  And as we prayed God impressed upon us that He is allowing us to come EMPTY that we may be FILLED. 

“This is what the LORD says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. For this is what the LORD says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD…The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.”

First of all, who prays for her SPEAKING TEAM to show up for an event empty? I guess someone who has been chatting with the Holy Spirit and knows that a handful of us are, indeed, coming dry. I could barely read the email through my tears.

Second, we serve a God who fills the desert with water, even if we didn’t see the rain. He accomplished this while the Israelites slept, while they rested. They woke up to water in the desert.

For me, maybe for you, dear one, we need a short season of rest, even though a battle is impending and we are surrounded by sand, parched. Maybe we need to trust God just enough to close our eyes and believe Him for water in the morning. After all, “this is an easy thing” for the One who has already redeemed humanity.

The night is upon us; our hands are spent from work. The only sane thing to do is rest. God sometimes does His best work while we entrust ourselves to his overnight keeping. Our responsibility is laying down the tasks, setting aside the duties, which is much harder than it sounds. There is never an end to the work; just an end to the day. Sometimes the very hardest obedience involves stopping for the night.

Somehow, God managed to fill the pools with water “about the time for offering the sacrifice.” This is so dear to me. I know how many people need you. I know that so many things depend on you showing up, same as me. But if we are obedient in this, God will renew us in time…in time for the kids, in time for our spouses, in time for our community, in time for our ministries. He will not restore us too late. He will renew us just in time.

His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

Thank you for letting me confess this to you. Are you on empty? Count on my prayers.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with no tags


Becky - March 20th, 2012 at 2:33 PM
Bless your heart! I love that you're so real. Prayers!
chris ellis - March 20th, 2012 at 9:17 PM
Bless you. There is an awesome, sobering teaching called "Dead Leader Running" by Wayne Cordeiro. About filling your tank so that you can used. I can relate.. 6 six kids, inner city ministry, homeschool mom and in the middle of God rocking our world *(some of yours an your beloved books are part of that.) But I do pray that you are able to find rest and courage to say no now so you can say yes later and for a long time. I have been blessed by several of your books and saw you today on the live thingy. 7 is challenging us to simplify and evaluate things in our family's home, ministry and how we think. Thank you for your obedience to be open and now for honesty about being empty. May the Lord give you the peace and rest in Him to recharge your batteries. Blessings.
Melanie McGaughey - March 20th, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Chris, thank you so much for posting this. I heard Wayne speak on this back in 2006 but could not remember his name and have searched for years for this talk bc it made such an impact on me and I have needed to hear it again. Buying it now!! :)
Caleb David - March 20th, 2012 at 2:34 PM
Rest, our dear friend. You all need it...you're sooooo right, this past year, we took a 4 week sabbatical and I can attest that your words are truth. Love you.
Dianna - March 20th, 2012 at 2:34 PM
We know you are real and not always "killing it" Rest my friend and count on our prayers.
Kristy Bruce - March 20th, 2012 at 2:39 PM
Wow. I just sat down to "take a break" from cleaning the house now that my little ones are down for a nap. I thought I would quickly check fb. I felt like ALL I did today was put them in time out. One after the other, after the other, after the other. I started getting upset that in the 1 minute I attempted to go to the bathroom by myself one of them started crying, two were dumping out buckets of toys, and another was screaming that his brother said, "nah, nah, na boo boo." SERIOUSLY?! is all I wanted to scream. I have felt like I am at my breaking point all day. So tired, so much to do, etc.

Then I was directed to your blog. I can't tell you how many times you have written EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Today. Wow. I need to just rest.

Praying for you that God would multiply your rest, help you diligently accomplish all He has set out for you to accomplish in your days, that He would nourish your soul, and that your cup would overflow.
Denise - March 20th, 2012 at 2:41 PM
Great words Jen. So many of us are there, but not brave enough to type the words... much less say "no" to opportunities and invitations. You're doing great work. Now please walk away from your computer and don't reply to all these comments :)
Jennifer - March 20th, 2012 at 2:41 PM
Victoria Andrews - March 20th, 2012 at 2:46 PM
I think what I love most about you is your willingness to be open and honest. Prayers that you get much needed rest in the Lord.
Suzanne - March 20th, 2012 at 2:46 PM
i'm on the side of the road with you, my dear sister. Thanks for an honest, good word. I wish I could just give you a big hug. That's all.
Michelle - March 20th, 2012 at 2:57 PM
This is what I love about you... You're so real with your readers that there is no facade of perfection. You are just like the rest of us
Haley - March 20th, 2012 at 2:58 PM
Thank you for sharing this - your honesty is beautiful and so much more helpful to me (and I'm sure many others) than some "10 ways to be more productive!" BS ever could be... Not that you've eer written anything remotely like that. But if you did, it would sell, because the stuff you wrote above is so very hard for us to come to terms with (though ultimately more profound and live-giving).
Flower Patch Farmgirl - March 20th, 2012 at 2:58 PM
Yep. "the very things needed to pull me out are the same ones I’ve lost energy for" Oh, truer words... And I know how I get overwhelmed with my blog and social media stuff - I can't imagine how much more intense it is for a real, live famous lady. :) Also? I'm 2 years in to loving my hurt little boy into my heart, and it is exhausting. Adoption can be some shaky terrain.

Go be loved and filled by your people. I take back what I said about needing you to blog every single day while they are left to scrounge around for their dinner! I take it the heck back!
Mindy Snow - March 20th, 2012 at 2:58 PM
Prayers from the Snow family! You are indeed an incredibly real woman with whom we all relate so well. Thank you for being so brave and giving us all the encouragement we need to be the bold, brave women of God we all aspire to be. First task at hand being, REST! Now get some for yourself. :)
Ashley - March 20th, 2012 at 2:59 PM
Yep. A few months ago I had to set everything aside, because I was out of whack. And I don't do a quarter of what you do, what a lot of people I know do, but nevertheless, I was overwhelmed. My marriage was desperate for attention. My three little kids (5 and under) were desperate, as well. My young teenage daughter, on the verge of rebellion. So, though my heart was for helping build an outreach ministry at our church and a more missional focus, I realized that I can't do that, and overlook my primary mission field - my home. So for now I'm focusing there and I know it's temporary. Every now and then I feel a twinge of guilt for not being able to make it all work, but I think that's a load of crap. It feels good to be where I'm supposed to be, with just the load He has given me. If the load is too heavy, I must ask, whose load is it? If the burden doesn't feel light to my soul, whose burden am I trying to carry?
Anna - March 20th, 2012 at 3:01 PM
I feel the same. I think I have honestly come to the limit of what I can do, yet there is so much I feel led to do! Your statement about stopping for the night hit me like a punch in the stomach. (Thank you for that.) I am so guilty. Thank you for your words, your work, and your obedience. Please remember that while we want you to post everyday with your Spirit-filled wisdom, that same Spirit also fills us, and can get us the encouragement we need while you stop to let him refresh your own soul.

I want to share what an inspiration you have been through your book. (I was the one who tweeted that I was stuck on the adoption site in the middle of the night.) It led me to build a sort of prayer journal on canvas, and I made a video of the process. Maybe you or your readers would be encouraged by it? I don't know what will be the purpose of it--maybe just to know that someone else is praying for the orphan. And I'll be praying for you, too!


Bobbie - March 20th, 2012 at 3:08 PM
Oh how I love your transparency, Jen. Praying for restoration for you.
RebeccaF. - March 20th, 2012 at 3:09 PM
Thank you. I know I needed this right at this time.

Kristi - March 20th, 2012 at 3:10 PM
God bless you sweet Jen. I have just prayed for God to fill you up, and to give you peace. Thank you for your transparency. Now stop reading all these comments and go rest :-)
Dana - March 20th, 2012 at 3:14 PM
Praying for you Jen and for this next weekend at Abundance in Houston. I'll be the one in the audience praying for you to be filled up this weekend and not spent. Thank you for your life giving words spoken by God through you. Now rest!
Jennifer Cullimore - March 20th, 2012 at 3:15 PM
Oh Jen, I can so relate. Thanks for being so honest and transparent. Sometimes the hardest thing in life is setting boundaries and saying no. Just remember that you can't and shouldn't even attempt to be everything to everyone-that's God's job. Just rest. Let yourself be filled up and give yourself permission to ask for help. Prayers!
Amy - March 20th, 2012 at 3:17 PM
3 posts in 16 days. Wow!

Seriously, praying for rest for you!
Kristin - March 20th, 2012 at 3:25 PM
We have limits as humans. And I think most of us, if not all, have been there with trying to do everything well. And it just doesn't work. I think you are showing both your humility as well as your maturity in that you know you have limitations, and cannot be everything to everyone, even when others would like you to be. Thank you for letting us get a glimpse of your journey. Your honesty, your journey, how real you are... it has far reaching impacts. It reminds us too to get our priorities straight. Thank you Jen.
Adrian W. - March 20th, 2012 at 3:26 PM
I can feel the pain in your words. I hope you find rest in God today.
Darlene Chiasson - March 20th, 2012 at 3:40 PM
The tears are flowing. Thank you for sharing what many of us feel. Our numbers are legion. After many sleepless nights from being at the end of unemployment compensation, your words "Maybe we need to trust God just enough to close our eyes and believe Him for water in the morning" were just the words I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing. This empty place is not who we are--just where we are--and this place too shall pass
Jeanette - March 20th, 2012 at 3:42 PM
We, out here in cyber land, will be fine! Please, take care of you and yours! The years your children are young are fleeting! Trust me, you won't care how many blogs you wrote or how many times you Skyped with other ladies about ministry. What you WILL care about are the precious memories you make with your babies. Go make memories! Rest! Restore!

All is WELL with my soul! Say it loud, say it proud..say it until it's TRUE!
Erin - March 20th, 2012 at 6:11 PM
This echos my thoughts as I've been praying for you, Jen. Everyone wants to be your friend because your awesomeness (read: realness) shines through in your books, your blog, and when you speak. And because you are a bleeding heart, you want to love on everyone who writes you. What a gorgeous quality!
But we all know you must be busy. And we all have lives of our own with friends who can learn to be just as awesome (read: real). I become infatuated with whatever author's book I'm reading at the moment--if they're sharing their lives in the book. I connect with them and want to grow that connection into a deep friendship. Truth is, that's just not realistic. I can't imagine what it's like to receive emails and tweets from thousands of us who feel that way!
This blog is a great place for those who love you from afar to come and have some "Jen time".
The next thing that struck me was how hard it must be to have many wonderful, biblical opportunities set in front of you and realize you can't say "yes" to all of them. It's easier to say "no" to something that's not in line with your values, but to say "no" to something that is? Yikes. I've had to do that recently. Saying no to something good, when the "no" is in line with God's timing/plan, is actually very freeing!
Today I was trying to think of how I might be able to help you in a tangible way. I'm good at a lot of things (toot, toot!), but God's telling me to faithfully pray for you, so you'll be getting your name on one of my prayer note cards. You're thrilled right? ;)
Thanks for sharing your heart. Praying that you get filled up this weekend in Houston.
Stephanie C - March 20th, 2012 at 3:49 PM
I must say it is comforting to know that you are human and just like the rest of us - that you too have limitations. We read your books, we stalk you on facebook, we read your blogs and we (or at least I) marvel at how much you do. I picture this super woman who is all things to all people (just as all of us women are supposed to be right - perfect mom, perfect wife, etc), who leads this glamorous life jet-setting from conference to conference in between book-signings yet still manages to cook 3 meals a day and bring up happy and well-adjusted children while keeping a husband satisfied. But in reality none of us can be everything to every one all of the time! Thank you for your honesty and for crushing our perfect vision of you because really, it was quite annoying thinking that someone out there was really that perfect.

We welcome you with open arms to the group of moms/women struggling to stay at half full. And do not worry - even though the perfect image is crushed, we are still your fans....probably even more so now!

So go turn off your computer and sit in a warm bubble bath with quiet music and wine, that may start to move your needle off of empty!
Jessica - March 20th, 2012 at 3:54 PM
Thanks for sharing. I will be praying for moments upon moments of refreshment for you. NINE WEEK DVD CURRICULUM FOR 7!!!! That is wonderfully awesome and how I have to somewhat laugh as I wish it was already in my hands and I make a lesson for each ''7' class already. My husband
Jessica - March 20th, 2012 at 4:00 PM
(continued sorry)
Jessica - March 20th, 2012 at 4:03 PM
My husband
Liv - March 20th, 2012 at 4:02 PM
Incredible. I'm reading 7 right now. You really inspire me....and might I add, I'm impressed that you mustered up the strength, energy, and courage to write this email!! I cried as I read the scripture in 2 Kings. Just adopted our first child, an infant...and I'm amazed at how drained I feel. This is what I want, but it is so much work. Ministry demands, demands at home...and desiring to be a writer!! It's hard!

I loved when you said you need to spend time with Jesus for you, not to think about what you can pour out next. I teach holy yoga, and I fight this same battle.

Thanks for being brave...and sharing your journeys!! I am so glad I found your book!
The Mom - March 20th, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Great post! I read your post about adoption- the one that says STAY HOME- stay the heck home and forwarded it to my family. It sure helped all of us get back on track with our new little guy from Ethiopia. Problem is you haven't been home much longer than us and it apprears your new little ones are further down the road than mine. SO of course I started to worry and rush things along. Of course that was stupid! :-) So we have stopped (run out of gas more like it) and are just enjoying the journey for now. I am not even able to go to church most weekends right now because our little guy needs to just be home. It feels weird not to be doing MORE but I KNOW this season God wants me HOME. So yeah running out of gas is okay sometimes. But just be sure you really are re-fueled, as is your family, before taking off again! :-)
Ebe - March 20th, 2012 at 4:17 PM
I heard recently that even going to sleep at night is an act of faith. Faith that our work can be completed later, we'll be safe as we sleep, and faith that stopping what we do during the day does not mean that our identity is not intact. Because we're not our work. We can trust that Jesus is faithful to us, we can rest well.

praying you find rest at the feet of Jesus
Leslie - March 20th, 2012 at 4:48 PM
I love the thought that going to sleep at night is an act of faith! Points out my prideful tendency to think it won't get done if I don't stay up and do it...yuck! I think I'll exercise my faith by going to bed early tonight!
Jada - March 20th, 2012 at 4:18 PM
((((HUGS))) praying for you for rest and re-fueling.
Julie Simmons - March 20th, 2012 at 4:30 PM
His strength is perfect when our strength is gone. :)
Cindy McBrayerc - March 20th, 2012 at 4:46 PM
Take care of yourself, Jen. You are so wonderful to share yourself with so many, but please listen to God's Spirit and obey when He tells you to draw away and rest. We will understand. The Internet, for all of the good it is/does, can also rob us of precious time we need to spend by ourselves, with our families, and with God.
Christa - March 20th, 2012 at 4:50 PM
Amen! As a type A person myself, I know the feeling, and it is only the grace of God that pulls me up short and makes me stop before I alienate my entire support system, and drive everyone crazy. Your heart is so big, and I appreciate that about you, BUT I what I like more is knowing you are a real person with the same struggles as 'lil' ole' me. This honesty is so encouraging, inspiring, and just what the Christian community needs more of. I've been studying in Ephesians and trying to memorize some verses. This one popped into my head. Ephesians 3:16-19 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Thank you brave one, now go rest and relax in HIS arms.
Aja - March 20th, 2012 at 5:14 PM
Sometimes it hurts when our plans and expectations don't gell with what God is pointing us towards, does it? A fellow Type-A, I had LOTS of plans for this year. None of which included finding myself unexpectedly pregnant with our third child in four years. I spent two weeks in bed crying over my lost plans. I'm just now coming around to saying yes to what God has laid in front of me- another year of pregnancy followed by another year of bfeeding and infant care. I wanted a little break from the needs of babies (you know, now that my youngest is 18 months!) but that's not to be. So I will learn to put my plans and ambitions and desires aside for what God has in store for me. Much easier said than done, but I know without His guidance my life will veer off course. Especially if I'm in control! He's much more capable than I. Blessings on the journey He has laid in front of you for this season.
Kristin - March 20th, 2012 at 5:18 PM
Praying for your rest, and for the divine filling up! Thanks for sharing!

Shani Campbell - March 20th, 2012 at 5:43 PM
I hesitate to even leave a post, because I'd rather you not read all these and instead give yourself the rest that is so needed. BUT please know-- you are so loved, because you are so REAL!! Thanks for the courage to share and know that you are so being prayed for --I have faith God will fill you up!!! Blessings to you and yours!!!
Jessica - March 20th, 2012 at 5:43 PM
Love your beautiful and encouraging words, Jen. After enduring 10 months of unemployment, I often feel like I'm "on empty" too often. Praying!
Erika Chapman - March 20th, 2012 at 5:50 PM
Bing, bing, bing!!! EMPTY!! Thank you...I have been praying through this feeling of emptiness for days...spent time on my face this morning...now just wrestling with what rest looks like...am I supposed to just ask Him to fill me so I can fulfill what is on my plate or move some stuff off my plate for some focused rest? It is hard to let go of things...feels like I will disappoint folks at church and at school and at home...but I am so tired...and am starting to resent the things/organizations/people that I used to love serving. I feel terribly unspiritual like I should have it together and be able to continue to do it all...I know this isn't Truth...but i feel it and hear the enemy's whispers. Praying for you as you lean close to listen for His instructions...I am leaning close too:) Thank you for this post...exactly what I needed to hear.
Shannon - March 20th, 2012 at 6:28 PM
May God richly blessly you, Jen, with a Sabbath rest, that you may be filled again with His peace, energy, presence. It is not by our strength, but by His. Your readers love you, for your honesty and aunthenticity, and for speaking the very words on many of our hearts. I also echo the many readers who've commented that we might be long lost sisters. Anyway, you owe us nothing. Take care of yourself and your family. We'll still be here when you get back. And besides, I'm only 1/2 way through Seven, so you've got plenty of time, as far as I'm concerned, to work on the DVD's :) Love to you!!
Esty - March 20th, 2012 at 6:30 PM
and here were my words I wrote today on my own blog (which I hit "post" on quickly before I could wimp out):..."the steam is out of our engines..the quiet times fill us with fuel to chase the dreams when they materialize....And even though it feels as plodding as watching grass grow

I know that after the grass grows...

~~~ the blooms follow."

I. Needed. That. Post. From. You. Today. Jen.

Thank you (she says with tears dripping off her cheeks.)
Sherry - March 20th, 2012 at 7:01 PM
Wow! Now I don't feel so bad about cooking Easter dinner. Lol. God Bless Jen Hatmaker. You're way cool, even on empty.
Bobby - March 20th, 2012 at 7:10 PM
Really glad you posted this and that Faith told me to read it. I have been feeling like this for weeks. But it is still so hard to rest when there is "so much to do..." You're right - we're not trusting God enough when we think that way. Thank you, now get some rest!
Melissa - March 20th, 2012 at 7:48 PM
As if you reached down into my life and pulled the words straight out of my heart..praying for your empty tank and mine. Thank you for the transparency!
Kelly - March 20th, 2012 at 8:31 PM
Jen, first I want to thank you for teaching me how to spell nincompoop. I have a Journalism degree from Texas A
Jennifer - March 20th, 2012 at 9:12 PM
"He didn’t say, “Do more. Do everything.” Those are on me. I did that. That’s my pride and selfishness and ego and ambition rising up, trampling down the beloved things, the necessary things."

Jamie - March 20th, 2012 at 9:25 PM
As usual- you hit the nail on the head. You're a gift- even when on "empty". Thanks for all you do- now rest, hug those beautiful blessings you have snuggled up in your house, and spend some time with your man.

Adrienne Graves - March 20th, 2012 at 9:31 PM
Was reading Romans 12 today, as well as 2 Tim 1, both talking about the same thing: fanning into flame the gifts in others, and those gifts being the unique qualities/strengths/quirks God has placed within us for His glory in order for us to come together as a body, The Body, not one person trying to do more than one part. Saying "No" is a beautiful thing, and as you shared today on-line, it's not about ADDING things, it's about trusting the Holy Spirit to lead us as we seek Him in the day to day, whether it's laundry or wrestling or playing UNO with our kids, or writing out a do-able calendar that allots for one or two speaking engagements a month, while at the same time referring someone else to jump in on one so her gifts are fanned into flame. Being real, raw, authentic, and on empty are the exact place where the Almighty God is able to reveal His power...made known in our weakness. I'll be praying for your heart as you basque on "Empty" for a time...because if you are full, is He able to fill you? Thank you so much for sharing this post, as well as what you shared earlier today live. I could hardly keep up with the chat (not a savvy chatter...) but pretty much, basically, I just kept saying, "Amen!" to the screen :) You were empty but you poured into me :)
nicematters - March 21st, 2012 at 9:39 PM
You were empty but you poured into me. Ditto.
Jennifer - March 20th, 2012 at 9:40 PM
Jen...I am speechless right now. I am so thankful that you wrote this, and I feel so blessed by your words. In spite of my emptiness and the feeling that I'm drowning in the chaos, I find a glimmer of hope knowing that I am NOT alone. That God sees me in my emptiness. That it will serve a purpose and that he will not leave me here. That it's not only okay to stop and rest, but it's a requirement.

Praying for all of us and our empty vessels. Thank you SO much!!!!j
Heather - March 20th, 2012 at 9:43 PM
Rest, my friend.
Amanda - March 20th, 2012 at 9:45 PM
This happened to me last year. In obedience, I abruptly resigned from all positions at church. I explained to church leaders that I needed to be filled up...that I was empty. The immediate reaction was that I must have something going on in my life, i.e. marital problems or something, which was not the case. It was the best thing I ever did. I have slowly started accepting commitments again, but just making sure that I am allowing myself to get filled up along the way.
JR - March 20th, 2012 at 9:48 PM
Thank you for being encouraging by being real. Your humility and openness are very refreshing. I hope you will be able to refuel and press on!
Kelly - March 20th, 2012 at 9:50 PM
Jen, first I want to thank you for teaching me how to spell nincompoop. I have a Journalism degree from Texas A
claire - March 20th, 2012 at 9:54 PM
All mamas are tired. Find a little time, a little cubbyhole, and a few hours.

And I thank you for this post. I, too, am on empty. And I don't do half of what you do.

Bless you for saying it.
Leslee - March 20th, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Jen: I love this post. You are speaking from the exact same weary place so many women find themselves. I, too, have been there. Only in my story, I didn't just end up on empty. God just went ahead and yanked the gas pedal from my car! It was His way of saying, "You're not just slowing down...You're going to stop altogether." It was a life-changer. Hard? Yes. Pride-swallowing? Yes. But I am forever grateful and thankful that His grace was there to see me through as I had to get out of my "car" and walk my way to healing (emotionally and physically). I actually had the opportunity to share my testimony and this lesson last night at our weekly women's bible study. I, like you, worried about whether or not it would resonate. Well, was that a dumb question considering the audience was filled with women just like myself! Ha! Thank you for always sharing your heart. We love you all the more for it.
Angel - March 20th, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Thankful to have your public example of authentic life in community and ministry. Just this morning I told my husband that I'm tired of/from being needed by everyone all the time. It even plagues my dreams at night, so this quote resonates with me: "There is never an end to the work; just an end to the day. Sometimes the very hardest obedience involves stopping for the night."

Praying for deep refreshment deep in your guts, Jen! Love to you!
Susanelizabeth - March 20th, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Jen, dear sister, I began to sob as I read this as I too have been where you are, when the things I did for God, were threatening to keep me from God and those I loved. Years ago when my husband was pastoring a church and I was directing a large ministry, I almost crumbled under it all. Then one day one of our young people sang a song that left me sobbing in the pew. Throughout the yrs, this song has helped me to step back and remember that no matter how strong I might appear, I am just a child. A child who needs her Father to hold her and give her rest. A child, who if not careful, will try to do more and be more than God ever intended. A child who needs to drop her sword and rest awhile.

As I was reading your blog and crying, God reminded me of this song. It's an oldie, and I am not even sure it will copy in this blog comment area, but I am still going to try to send it because the message is timely.

Thank you for dropping your sword and crying for just awhile. And when you cry, remember, many of your sisters here, can taste the salt because we are one. I love you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Pzu-jWpcdw
Missy - March 20th, 2012 at 10:12 PM
What Jamie and Jennifer (about 6 posts before me) said...yeah. Ditto. Thank.you.

rachel - March 20th, 2012 at 11:03 PM
thank you so, so much. your honesty and your shared heart is such a gift. i pray you find rest, and that the Lord wouldn't just fill you up to the top, but that you would overflow with His mercies and goodness. i thank God for your ministry and your example.
Lesley - March 20th, 2012 at 11:07 PM
You have been so giving with your time - I have been incredibly blessed by your encouragement and your willingness to engage on the internets (that's what my Dad calls it) - and so it was an honor to pray for you today and give back just a tiny bit of what you've given to us (your readers). With the web, you face an interesting dilemma that influential people haven't had to deal with before - you are at the beck and call of everyone who either adores you or disagrees with you at any given time - and its just too much. No one could handle all of those folks, plus juggle a family and a church and public speaking gigs...and so we are all rooting for you and praying for you and begging you - take a break. Be with your real friends and family and community. We'll still be here when you come back and we all know without a doubt how much you love and appreciate us, in the meantime.

As I was dusting today, I sincerely thanked God for you, my sister, and asked Him to give you rest and peace and the courage to let people down...

except for me. I'll still be expecting replies and 'likes' to all my Facebook comments.

Marla Taviano - March 21st, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I get it. Love you. Praying for you right this minute.
Gretchen - March 21st, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Trade your yoke for His, dear one.
Karla Bates - March 21st, 2012 at 6:36 AM
Jen- Take a break!! You can do this.... it is ok to relax. I say this lovingly not mockingly.... The adoption community will go on if Jen Hatmaker takes a break. REST! REST! REST!!!
Donna Pineau - March 21st, 2012 at 6:53 AM
Praying for your refill! Jen Hatmaker, you'll never know how much you've help me and my relationship with Jesus. Your honesty and openness helps me to realize that people with deep, deep faith are down to earth, regular women and that gives me hope. You are so entitled to take time to refill for yourself, your family
Coleyberry - March 21st, 2012 at 7:52 AM
Praying for you and yours! We read a book by Wayne Cordiero called Leading on Empty. It gave us some concrete ways to get filled back up and maintain healthier boundaries so we wouldn't be always running on fumes. You and your family are being used in the Kingdom, and we are all so thankful for y'all, but no one will be devastated if you take some time to cacoon in and in your rest time allow God to heal and restore and even transform you!
Addie - March 21st, 2012 at 8:00 AM
ha, I was just thinking how much I need some rest and almost didnt get out of bed this morning... love you, Jen
missy - March 21st, 2012 at 9:18 AM
Sweet friend - please try to remember that you gave birth just a few months ago to some really large special needs twins after an extremely high risk pregnancy. If you don't slow down that 4th degree episiotomy is never gonna heal.

George Meyer - March 21st, 2012 at 9:36 AM
Hi, it’s that unemployed guy; you know the one that offered his services to your group, the one who suggest a life coach a few blogs back. As I read your blog I could not help but think what a gifted person you are. You are utilizing your gifts for Gods purpose to help so many. Here I am in Ohio, 8 months out of a job that was high paced, high stress, but yet high yield for my patients and employees. We were responsible for opening up blockages for patients that were either about to or were actually experiencing a heart attack. I was a coronary junkie, so rewarding yet so draining. I have had no luck finding a job, but have found satisfaction doing God’s work in a Free Health Clinic in our communities. We just opened and have provided medical, Social Service, Financial, and prayers services for 130 patients and saved the patients and the community about $44,897 dollars in just three months. I too run out of "gas", the job search, the clinic, house work,(please do not let that get out!) but one day I listened to a speaker, her name is Christine Caine. I am including a link, when you go to the web page she is week #6. It sounds to me like you’re stuck at a gate. And though the circumstance may not be the same I believe the teaching may apply. I listen to this every once in a while; it helps me refill my tank.

God Bless.

I will make a deal with you, you take 53 minutes to listen to the message and I will buy your book. At a minimum you sell a book.

Cindy - March 21st, 2012 at 9:42 AM
Ephesians 2:8-9 ...For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Praise God! He is showing you this...so rest in Him...and only in Him.
Cindy - March 21st, 2012 at 9:44 AM
Ephesians 2:8-9 ...For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Praise God! He is showing you this...so rest in Him...and only in Him.
Shannah - March 21st, 2012 at 1:59 PM
Thank you for always being honest. That is the most refreshing thing about your blog, your books, the online "you" most of us know. Even if it isn't the whole picture, it is always real. I love that. And I prayed for you just now.
Stacy - March 21st, 2012 at 2:10 PM
Praying for you, for all of us who are there, were there, are almost there or have ever been there.... love you. Thanks for keeping it real
Camille - March 21st, 2012 at 2:30 PM
Oh Jen. Thank you so much for being honest with this aspect of your life. Makes me feel a lot better about the overwhelmed feeling I get now and then trying to deal with a lot less than you. I pray that you find peace, restoration, balance, and joy in the coming months, and know that no matter what, this reader will love you. Your willingness to put yourself out there in books and blogging has opened my eyes and helped me know God in an amazing new way. Take care of yourself and your beautiful family. All His love to you!
Sallie Howell - March 21st, 2012 at 4:06 PM
Thank you so much for your transparency. I will pray for you to find rest. To take it! I pray for your family. May you learn to find balance and peace.

I was sidelined about 2 years ago with a chronic illness diagnosis. I mean dead in my busy little tracks did I stop. Once I had read all the ways I could fix myself because that is what we busy people do while we sit still, I began to fall into the Word. I prayed for myself like never before (always busy praying for someone else)
geographylady - March 21st, 2012 at 9:22 PM
Superwoman we are not. Sometimes a hard lesson to accept.
Sarah - March 21st, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Your honesty is wonderful. Remember, you MUST put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others. Hope you're already finding a bit of rest and respite. And, while you're resting smile knowing that Chopped All Stars starts on April 8th!
John Doyle - March 22nd, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Beautiful piece of writing from a precious place in your heart. At the onset of the recession I wrote a piece about the daily divinity found within the scripture: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will grant you the desires of your heart. This is all about being empty and lacking in strength. If you would like a copy contact me at [email protected] I would love to send it to you. I love a God who finds gold in the mire and beauty in the broken. Thank you again for your honesty (and great writing!).
Erica - March 22nd, 2012 at 3:07 PM
I'm on empty and have been for a long time. It's encouraging to know I'm not alone. I'm twenty years old and have deeply struggled with an alcohol addiction for five years. Last April I got in a drunk driving accident and totaled my car. That landed me in AA and I was sober for 4 months until I went back to my University to start my Sophmore year of college. I am so incredibly empty. Alcohol leaves you so mindblowingly (that's not a word) empty. It's time to let the Lord fill me up. Thank you for writing this blog, Jen, I'm sure it takes so much out of you but I really love your words.
Amanda - March 22nd, 2012 at 3:23 PM
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.”

― Erma Bombeck
Lisa - March 22nd, 2012 at 8:47 PM
So.There. Right.Now. Thank you.
Leighellen Landskov - March 23rd, 2012 at 8:39 AM
Saw this today (from Sarah Bessey's Emerging Mummy blog) and thought of you:

"This post is for all of you high-achievers out there. You pride yourself in being available 24/7 and think every text is like your own personal Bat-signal pleading for you to come to the rescue and save the city. Not taking time off is like a badge of honor you wear with pride. You’ll take a long vacation in Heaven, or maybe after your big project gets launched.

Just a word from experience for the high-achievers: what you contribute is valuable, but you are not the savior of the organization. You do not need to prove your worth and value by working non-stop. Your strength and energy and leadership have limits. Your true identity is not found in what you do for your job, or even for God, but in Christ."

Just want you to know your voice IS valuable and we are praying for you to get some much needed rest. Go fill that tank, girl. We'll be here when you get back.

RAM - March 23rd, 2012 at 10:26 AM
Yes. I too am on empty. Thank you for sharing your heart. I need rest and God is giving it to me in the form of spring break (i am a school social worker). Out with the endless to-do list - in with rest, reflection, prayer , and the Word of God. I so desperately need to see His face!
Robin @ Pink Dryer Lint - March 23rd, 2012 at 1:48 PM
This is the first post I've ever read of yours, and wow, I love the honesty. Thank you for a wonderful post.

Get a good night's sleep, please. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is sleep. Grace, rest, and more rest to you!
hannah singer - March 23rd, 2012 at 2:38 PM
so grateful for YOU and your sharing this.

excellent and timely. praise jesus!

enjoy your weekend. praying it is rest filled and laced with joy! xo

Anna - March 23rd, 2012 at 2:47 PM
This makes me think of this: the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, Mark 10:45 and of sitting down at His feet to draw from Him. It's ok to take a rest but He's inviting us to live at rest, resting in His finished work, receiving from Him. I feel for you. X
Suzanne - March 24th, 2012 at 8:01 PM
Thank you. It was as if you spoke to me personally. And makes me feel less alone.
Charlotte - March 26th, 2012 at 5:42 AM
I will finish 7 today and you are now my friend in spirit. Your Empty post both hurts my heart for you, but soothes my own since I see myself in your words. Mostly I am comforted by your very clear scriptural point that God and God alone can fill me if I let Him. Thank you for the sacrifices you make to share God's truth with all of us.
Name - March 29th, 2012 at 8:47 PM
It seems to me the times we are living in are sooo stressful. Life, despite the many conveniences we own (washer, dryer, computer, ipad, etc), is too "busy". That's exhausting enough! And then, we add commitments, obligations, duties, responsibilities - things and people we MUST give of ourselves to and soon, we are wiped out. EMPTY. I've been there and it took me awhile to get back, but you can do it! All you need is God! He is enough! He is everything! He is saying, "Come away with me for awhile and rest. Talk. Break bread." Let HIM refresh and fill you again! God Bless!
Amy - March 30th, 2012 at 5:20 PM
somehow I missed this blog when it first came out and found it today...just when I am running on empty...prayers for a constant renewing of your heart and mine through the grace and mercy of Christ who loves us all as we are, no matter how bedraggled and crazy we get:-)
noelle - April 5th, 2012 at 10:11 AM
wow - i came to your site to read your two posts on Easter, but just happened to scroll down through the past posts. i needed this today. i am also on empty. thank you for our honesty. such a good reminder that rest is GOOD and is nothing to feel guilty about. will be lifting you up in prayer.
Dana @Cooking at Cafe D - May 23rd, 2012 at 3:05 PM
Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'


And, let Him...

Car Finance Brisbane - August 21st, 2012 at 5:23 AM
I am a employ, so this information is very helpful in my carrier future. I will wait to get more information about it. Thanks.
Mercedes Spares - August 23rd, 2012 at 4:38 AM
Your content is so good. I will definitely tell about this whole story to my friends.
Leave a Comment

Blog (1)