What’s in Your Cup?

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to gather together with friends during a frightening storm and sing away your fear like the actors in The Sound of Music?  “I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel – so sad.”  It seems a little simplistic, but actually God has a lot to say about our thought processes.” He is concerned about our feelings of fear, insecurity, apprehensions, and anxious moments. As I ponder these thoughts, many Bible passages I learned as a child are spilling out of my data memory bank like an over-flowing cup. “Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of any virtue, praiseworthy…think on these things (Phil4:8). “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). II Corinthians 10:5, asks us to “cast down imaginations and bring every thought unto the obedience of Christ.” My husband often makes the statement, “what we see and hear influences what we think about, and what we think about influences what we believe, and what we believe determines how we behave.”  It seems that our mind-set, whether negative or positive, will effect what overflows from the cup of our lives.

In Psalm 23:5, the writer states simply, “my cup runs over.” I think on the word cup, and perceive it to be a vessel – something used to contain something. A cup can contain pressures, depression, joy, sorrow, worry, anxiety, hope….endless possibilities.  When my youngest daughter was about two or so, she had taken a small cup and filled it with “treasures”.  To me it looked like a bunch of little scraps of paper, but she told me these were her “twesures, and her doe-ing to teep dem.” (“treasures and she was going to keep them”in case anyone needs an interpreter) If I were to take a cup and fill it with my own treasures, it might look just as strange to the person who discovered what I had in that cup.

I’d possibly add to my cup a set of praying hands to remind me that Jesus wept in the garden asking God the Father to “let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but thine be done”  Out of that very bitter cup – overflowing with pain and the anguish of sin being placed upon His shoulders, came forth an overflowing cup of salvation. I’d place a cross in my cup to remind me that the cross gives me the gift of abundant life. The cross brought Jesus pain and sorrow – but gave to us eternal life.  Sometimes I will have a cup of sorrow and pain, but II Corinthians 4:7-9 helps define our existence.  “we have this treasure in earthen vessels…we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed…that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” I believe I’d want an anchor – the symbol of hope inside my cup. I want to remember that God is in the cup with me and He can turn my sorrow into gladness.

In 1982, my three-year-old nephew was diagnosed with leukemia.  On one occasion when we were driving him to the hospital for a painful bone aspiration and treatment, his voice suddenly burst into song, “Ding dong bell, there’s gladness in my well, who put it there? God.”  Often during times of discouragement when I’ve felt my cup overrunning with sorrow, I have heard that sweet trusting voice in my memory, and remembered that God can change heartbreak into gladness.  How?  God can put it there.

Jesus says that he came to give me life…not just eternal life, but life ABUBNDANT, joyous, and full! Regardless of my present circumstances He desires joy for me. I want a bottle of bubbles in my cup to remind me of the little song, “It’s bubbling, it’s bubbling, it’s bubbling in my soul, there’s singing, and laughing, since Jesus made me whole.  Folks don’t understand it and I can’t keep it quiet, it’s bubbling bubbling bubbling bubbling bubbling day and night.”  A “Pollyanna smile” is not the ultimate goal.  Life has hard stuff that we must walk through – dying parents, disease, separations, divorce, broken bodies, misunderstandings….stuff that fills our cups with sorrow.  I’m so glad that God gives me some mind- altering promises in Romans 12:2.  “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds…”  I have sought various methods of renewing my mind.  Sometimes it’s in  reading scripture, talking to Christian friends, listening to children talk about their joys, or by simply remembering a life journey. Vance Havner, an old time preacher, says that often we get so busy with life and heavy issues, that we lose the wonder of living.  Sometimes, I do lose the wonder, and I plod along with an ol’ empty, dirty cup.

Nearly 20 years ago I had an event in my life that suddenly filled my cup with sorrow, bitterness, darkness, and doubt.  Through this dark time, I discovered that by renewing my mind, following God’s plans for my thinking processes, my bitter cup was being replaced with an overflowing cup. God was giving me an abundant overflowing joyous cup of His presence.  I learned to drink deeply from the abundant life cup, and to treasure each day.  I began to jot down memories from my earliest childhood – the good memories that were in my cup.  In other words, I began to find the wonder in living once again.

As you read this today, why not take a moment to check out the ingredients in your cup.  Is it overflowing with heartache and despair? Do you find anger, bitterness, resentments, and hurt feelings in the dregs at the bottom?  Does the cup need repair, and cleansing?  Is it full of joy and the abundance of zest for life?  Why not take hold of God’s wonderful formula, and fill your mind with those things that will cause your cup to overflow and spill out upon the lives of all those around you as you begin this new week? I’d love to hear how this post encouraged you to “renew your mind” and transform your day.


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