5 Things To Do When You Feel Empty and Broken

woman feeling empty and broken

Only God can satiate the deepest longings of the soul.  When you’re real about it, where have you been turning to quench the longings?  When the darkness settles, and you’re along with your longing, what do you do about it?

We hear well-meaning Christ-followers speaking of turning to Christ alone to satisfy, but what does this actually look like? 

When I’m real about it, I admit that opening my Bible isn’t always satisfying.  Closing a door to pray feels like the very kind of work from which my weary soul needs rest.  Listening to a sermon sounds somewhat boring. 

So how can we satisfy our souls with God in ways that bring life?

Here are five suggestions:

1. Find a hobby you genuinely enjoy

Pursuing a hobby sounds quite unspiritual, but God created passions and interests in us so that we would have parts of our lives that purely fun and recreational.  Being outside is a big one for me, but for a few years, I considered it a waste of time to hike just for the fun of hiking or go running just because it felt good.  It didn’t seem spiritual enough. 

In the 1981 movie, Chariots of Fire, Olympic runner Eric Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” God is pleased when we pursue activities we sincerely enjoy.  Pray about it, search your past, and consider what truly brings life to your soul.  Make time to pursue that passion. 

Whether it’s a raised garden in the backyard, a new set of paintbrushes, or a rekindled passion for baking, set aside some time to pursue it without guilt.

2. Learn to walk in constant dialogue

We’re less depleted when walking in constant conversation with God is the habit of our days.  When I’m continually listening for his promptings, enjoying the life at my fingertips, and communing with him like a best friend, his ongoing voice in my life brings life.  It satisfies my soul.

3. Reinvent the way you read the Bible

When Bible reading gets boring, it’s time to mix things up.  Sometimes, I get online and find a new translation for under five dollars.  In other seasons, I’ve found journaling Bibles and read through with the goal of journaling in the margins after each daily reading.

There are two Bibles in the closet with prayers written in the margins of each page: one for my son and one for my daughter.  When they leave the house, I plan to give each of them a Bible with prayers for them filling every page.  Reading with the perspective of looking for blessings to pray over my children revitalized the way I read the Bible for a few years.

Other times, I find Bible reading plans to guide my daily reading. The Book of Common Prayer provides daily Scripture reading from the Old and New Testament.

4. Do something for someone else

When I desperately seek satisfaction for my soul, the best solution can be doing something to bless someone else. 

Bake a batch of cookies for a lonely neighbor, write a note to a friend, send a message to someone you love just to tell them what they mean to you. 

It is true that he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).

5. Change the way you pray

Similar to changing the way I read the Bible, changing the way I pray helps me connect with God when my prayer time has grown dry and monotonous.  This might mean praying through a series of prayer steps systematically, such as stillness, worship, thanksgiving, confession, and petition.  Or it might mean making a colorful prayer poster with names of friends to pray for.

Prayer journaling can be refreshing – writing our prayers to God.  Creating gratitude lists, writing out names of God from Scripture, and listing attributes of God’s character can be filling ways to mix up our prayer lives.

Walking with God is about walking in relationship, and just as every earthly relationship is different, there is no formula for walking in relationship with Jesus.  The secret is to keep ourselves grounded in the truth of his Word, and then find a way that works.

Stacey Pardoe is a mother, wife, writer, and mentor. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children, where seeking God is her greatest passion.
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