Trying to numb the pain of emptiness

By Dave Henning / November 25, 2018

“People try to numb the pain of emptiness with things that make the hollow worse, not better.  There are far more  false comforters than real comforters in this area.”- Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof concludes Chapter 13 of Didn’t See It Coming as he observes that the solutions we chase just end up introducing more problems.  In addition, Pastor Nieuwhof talks about two options we think will help.  But they rarely do.

  1. More work– the author considers workaholism the most rewarded addiction in America today.  Because running hard into the future is an easy way to run from emptiness.  As a result, Carey cautions, if your season doesn’t have a beginning and an ending, it’s not a season.  Instead, it’s your life.
  2. All you can eat – Carey describes overeating as a crippling form of self-medication.  For, on a global level, obesity kills three times as many people as malnutrition.  And, just like workaholism gets you promoted, in today’s culture celebrates overeating.  However, Pastor Nieuwhof wryly states, “being full doesn’t cure emptiness either.”

Hence, Carey asserts, appetite fuels our constant pursuit of more.  In other words, every form of self-medication makes you crave more.  But, there’s a challenge with more.  There’s no finish, no end.

Therefore, the quickest path out involves self-care.  Often, the quiet on the outside reveals much disquiet on the inside.  In turn, this pushes you to self-medicate.  Consequently, you ignore or neglect some basic health habits.

Yet, self-care fails to solve the basic human condition of emptiness.  In the final chapter of Didn’t See It Coming, Carey shares the only solution.  You must surrender control of your life to Jesus.

Today’s question: What methods have you used to numb the pain of emptiness?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Perpetually discontent – never good enough”

About the author

Dave Henning

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