I used to feel like part of me was missing. I could pretend to be a complete person all I wanted. I could walk around like everyone else. I could work, I could go to the mall, or to the movies. I could go to church. I could do whatever I wanted.
But something was missing.
I felt like an imposter.
Like I was pretending. I looked like I felt OK, and I usually said the right things, and to anyone that wasn’t inside my mind, things would seem
But during these times, it felt like I was yearning for something, and I didn’t know what.
Like I was searching, and not finding.
Like having an endless thirst, and not being able to slake it.
It was like there was a hole, right through the center of me. I could almost feel wind whistling through it. It was cold, and it was painful, and it seemed there was nothing I could do about it.
Except try to fill it.
And nothing fit.
Nothing fit because this hole was not shaped like anything on earth.
It was shaped like Jesus.
I believe now we were all made with this emptiness, with this hollow place in our centers. A place designed by our maker to be filled–with light, and love, and completeness. You can stuff it with anything you like. Some things will even work for a time, but eventually, they will begin to come loose around the edges, and things will begin to stream in again, and eventually, what you have stuffed into the hole will come flying out, and there will be the emptiness again.
Because only one thing will fit there, and stay.
My tendency has always been to try and fill the emptiness with things other than what was designed to fit there–things other than Jesus. For a time, it was food. That worked best of all, so far. It made me feel better to just pig out. Later, it would be the same with alcohol. Binging was fun, and easy, and when I did it, I didn’t have to think about anything, and it was great.
Except when it wasn’t. When the party was over, or the meal was over, and I was left with myself, I was not happy at all. The truth is, I was disgusted with the “wonder” of me. And what I had tried to fill my emptiness with was gone. The food, the fermented malt beverages, the empty relationships
And I was empty again.
Maybe it isn’t those things for you. Maybe it’s something else-like drugs, or sex, or pornography. Maybe it’s video games, or maybe you adopt a lot of cats.
And none of those things work. You still feel hollow. Not all of the time, but when you really sit down, or when you lay down at night, or when you ask yourself if you’re really happy, or really feel complete, the answer is almost always no.
Something is missing.
I was hollow for 32 years. I spent my life trying various things to fill my emptiness. I nearly ate myself to death, literally.
And it didn’t work.
I became not an everyday drinker, but a serious binge drinker. I would pound beers until I was sick, and the result was always the same.
It didn’t work. After the buzz was gone, and the sickness was gone, and the hangover was gone, I still felt hollow.
And then I discovered that sometimes empty relationships felt a lot like love, or what I imagined love would feel like. But when the person was gone, and I had to think once again about my life, I had to admit that it wouldn’t have worked if I had a new person in my life every weekend.
And I was still hollow.
And then there came a day where I absolutely couldn’t do it anymore. I was on a trip with my friends to see a baseball game, and our intention was to eat as much bad food as we could, and drink as much beer as our stomachs could handle.
Instead, God spoke to me on the first night of the trip, before we even got to Peoria. I remember standing on the dock leading down to the river, holding a beer cooler in each hand, and just feeling overwhelmed with so many different feelings, and memories. I remember thinking that I could no longer fill the emptiness through my center, that I never had been able to.
I did not even want to try anymore.
So for the first time in my life, kneeling on the rough wood of the dock, I asked Jesus to fill that emptiness, because I was tired of being hollow.
And I was filled.
And it was good.
The difference between my life now, and my life then, is that now I have hope. Now I have help.
I am not in it alone.
How can an entity I can neither see nor touch give me hope?
I can’t explain how, I only know that He does. And it changed my life. I am the same person as before, but I am also different.
When I begin to feel like my old self, when I begin to feel hollow, now I can turn to Jesus. Now I can reach out for His touch, and grasp the edge of his garment, and be healed. I don’t have to reach out for food, or drink, or anything else, though that temptation will always be there. Now, I don’t need to fill that emptiness with anything else, because it isn’t there anymore.
I am no longer hollow.