Running on empty

As expected, people have different understanding of this whole “give and take” idea on relationships. When you say that relationships are give and take, you basically mean that each one does his part in the giving and taking. It cannot always be give, give, give or take, take, take. And then you hear comments like, “but that means you’re expecting something in return, and that’s not what relationships are.” The understanding seems to be that it is just unconditional giving. Selfless emptying of yourself to those you love. And you get where they’re coming from, because deep down you also know the truth that it really is more of giving than it is of taking. You want to give to the other person more than you’d like to give to yourself. You prioritize them, think of what will benefit them more than what will benefit you. Ultimately, it really is a whole lot of giving. Giving and joyful, loving giving.

But what happens when you run on empty? Does that mean all this time you weren’t giving joyfully or lovingly, and in reality, you really were expecting something in return? The lines become blurred because that’s not where you’re at, really. You don’t give so that people will give back. You give because you desire to give. Period. However, it can also be said that you cannot give what you do not have. How can you keep giving love when you’re not receiving it? How can you keep giving time when you’re not receiving time from them? Am I making sense?

I just realized how complicated it gets when you start to analyze relationships this way. Who does the giving more than the taking? Pretty soon, you will really feel a sense of unfairness when you realize, wait a minute, all I ever do is give, but why don’t I get anything back? Don’t misunderstand. It is not for the sake of just getting anything back or validating your worth. Rather than validation, appreciation. A little thank you, a little effort, a little appreciation goes a long way.

Then again, why measure giving? I think, if I were honest, it’s because you realize that you’re not always running full. Nauubusan ka din. You don’t always have the time, or the resource, the kind words, or the gentle advice. You need these things, too. You need people to give you time, you need people to encourage you, surprise you, make you feel special like the way you make them feel special and loved and wanted. Give and take. A balance on sacrifice and compromise. You cannot always give and they cannot always take. You share this load, you balance each other out.

I think I’m running on empty, people-wise. Medyo nakakapagod din pala. The consolation I have is that I will never run on empty with God. He’s the ever flowing supply of love, grace, mercy. He declares that those who come to him will “never thirst.” He will satisfy them as with living waters. He says, “come to me and I will give you rest.” He gives unconditional love, such that even when you think you’re running empty of it, you find yourself amazingly able to give more –and only because you know the supply is everlasting.

There’s a verse I love in Lamentations 3:22-23, which says, “Your mercies are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.” Philippians 4:19 also adds, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Such great comfort, Lord. Thank you, Abba!

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