When I was in college I had a teacher who handed each one of us a Styrofoam cup. At the front of the class he had his own cup that was full of water. He then began to explain how the full cup represented what he felt like after completing college and took a position as a youth minister. As he explained about people coming to him with empty cups, represented by us in the class with our cups, hoping he can help them fill it. He then went around the room and began pouring water into our cups. Before long he had nothing left to give. He had not taken time to allow his own cup to be refilled.
This is one of the lessons from college that I will always remember. I use this same illustration to show people what happens when we fall into what we call the doormat mentality of humility. This happens when we are working to take care of everyone else’s needs and wants while our own needs get put aside. By not taking the time to get our own needs met we soon find our cup is empty and there is nothing left to give.
Preventing doormat humility requires differentiating between what is a need and what is a want. A need is something that someone must have to live. Examples are food, water, shelter, and clothing. Things outside of needs are just wants. Proper humility is put in place when we are helping people with their needs. When we think we need to take care of their wants as well we become overwhelmed and experience burn out. This means it is okay to say no to a want if someone asks. If doormat humility is a struggle then do this need/want differentiation this week and tell people no. You will find life less stressful and find time to get your own cup filled.