Posted by: philw0410 | December 21, 2010

Emotional Buckets – How Full is Yours?

I wonder how you would characterise the year just gone? How has it been for you? I was reflecting on this very question with my wife last night. Our conclusion? For us, it is has been a year full of emotion.

While emotions may be an alien concept to Mr Spock and an un-necessary evil to be eradicated by the cyber-men, emotions are part of what make up humanity. And this year has been full of them, highs and lows. As Christmas approaches, I am perhaps only now calculating the emotional cost of the past 12-18 months, which has seen us move house, family, Church, jobs and friends, to start a new life in Bedford.

In the grand scheme of history, my cost seems fairly minimal. I have not been imprisoned like John Bunyan, stoned like Stephen, shipwrecked like Paul or burnt at the stake like Tynedale or Ridley. Yet, it is true that every step and journey of faith has an emotional cost, and we ignore it at our peril.

We each have a certain God-given capacity, be it spiritual, physical, mental or emotional.  Mark Driscoll helpfully talks in terms of ‘buckets’. Its your  job to understand how much you are carrying in your bucket, at any given time, and to understand how you replenish your supply.

Personally, I have realised my emotional bucket is pretty empty. A year of emotional battles has meant spillage! The signs of it in my life can be things like withdrawal from people, poor communication with my wife, lack of emotional connection with those close to me, self-absorption and introspection, laziness, being easily irritated. Do any of these ring true?

If you do not take measures to fill-up, you can end up in serious trouble. Men of God, take action!

The Gospel answer to this issue is always Christ. He is the supplier, provider, redeemer, healer and saviour. One of the most precious promises to me in this regard, is that at the end of Isaiah 40:

The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

How does the emotional bucket get filled up? By proximity to Jesus. Those who hope in Him, or as some versions translate, those who wait upon Him, shall renew their strength.

This season, my aim is to be with Jesus as much as I can. In solitude, in scripture, through song, in silence, in earnest seeking and in worshipful surrender.

Do whatever you must to be with Jesus. Consider anything that stops you from being with Him, your sworn enemy, and go to war with it. My hope as a Christian man, as a husband, Father and friend, is solely in the everlasting God, whose emotional bucket is never empty, yet who sympathises with my weaknesses. I have a perfect mediator. He is Christ the Lord.

Worship Him. Fill up your bucket. And then worship Him some more! But do not settle for emptiness. Do not become acquainted with poverty of soul. Do not allow drift. Hope in the Lord. Fix your heart on things above, where Christ is seated in glory.

I hope you all have a truly blessed Christmas time, and may all your buckets be full and running over!



  1. An honest and timely reminder of the importance of reading our guages and taking the necessary steps to ensure we’re as well as can be.


  2. Really helpful. Thanks Phil.

  3. Brilliant & Totally true!

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