Cracked cups are annoying

Dishwashers are awesome, but let me share with you some words of sage wisdom… don’t overfill the dishwasher. If you do, you might crack a cup because all those dishes are banging into each other. And, you might not even notice that a cup is cracked. And… on an early winter morning, you might grab said cup, fill it with your favorite hot tea, turn your back only to discover that the cracked cup has allowed your nice warm breakfast tea to spill all over your last piece of homemade pumpkin bread.  Soggy bread and spilled tea, not my idea of a great way to start the day. Cracked cups are annoying.

Speaking of cups, leaders are a lot like cups.

As leaders, we are called to pour ourselves into the lives of those around us. We should take whatever we have been given and selflessly pour it into others. We are responsible for serving the people around us.

In this process, we have to trust that as we pour ourselves into others the same thing will happen for us. We need to trust that as we empty ourselves other people will pour into our own life and will begin the process of refilling our own cup.

We also need to realize that we are not solely responsible for filling someone else’s cup, it is a collective effort and we are simply called to give what we have and trust that it will be enough.

This is great when it works, but how about doing this for a difficult person? I can speak to this firsthand. I have a co-worker that I have been pouring into for years. I give, and give, and give to this person but she just doesn’t seem to get it. No matter how much I give I just don’t see a difference in her life. It’s exhausting. It’s like her cup is a bottomless pit and no matter how much people give to her it is never enough.

And then one day I realized, her cup is cracked and it all made sense.

As leaders, we don’t get to pick who we pour into. We are simply called to pour into the lives of those around us.  We are called to pour but not necessarily fill their cups. Just pour what we have and trust that we are doing the right thing. We will never be able to fill a cracked cup but we are not responsible for filling that cup. We are, however, responsible for our own decision to give what we have to others.

And yes, cracked cups are annoying and broken people are painfully difficult, pour into those people anyway, that’s what leaders do, we just keep pouring.