Hot Tea and Full Cups

And just like that… it’s December. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Funny how time seemed to drag to a near stop before the holidays when we were children, and now it just seems to be an unstoppable train on a downhill track, picking up speed with every year that passes.

One of my favorite wintertime pleasures is wrapping my hands around a steaming cup of hot tea… morning, noon, or night. I love trying new flavors and types of teas, but mostly I relish the instant calm that seems to immediately pour through me when I take that first refreshing sip, inhale that blissful scent, and feel that deep warmth from the hot liquid seep into my bones. Ahhh.

And speaking of cups of hot tea, I have a little fable for you this week:

Imagine you’re holding a cup of tea when all of a sudden someone comes along and bumps into your arm, causing you to spill it everywhere.

Why did you spill your tea? You might say, “Because he bumped into me!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled tea because tea was in your cup when your arm was bumped. Had there been coffee in your cup, you would have spilled coffee.

Whatever is in your cup is what will spill out when you are bumped, rattled, or jarred. Just as in life. When life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is sitting inside you will come spilling out. It’s easy to fake it in the good times, when everything is going well. But, when life goes wrong and you are rattled, angry, scared, disappointed, or treated unjustly… before you even know it, what you’ve been filling your cup with on a daily basis will come spilling out all over everyone and everything around you.

So, ask yourself, “What’s in my cup?” If I were bumped today, what would automatically come spilling out?

Would it be anger, frustration, bitterness, fear, scarcity, insecurity, jealousy, and pride? Or would it be joy, gratefulness, peace, humility, tolerance, patience, and love?

Life gives us an empty cup. WE choose how we will fill it and what we will fill it with. It matters that we are intentional about what goes into our cup on a daily basis, especially on the small, uneventful days of our lives because when the big, eventful days are suddenly upon us… we’ll be better with a full, positive, loving, and secure cup from which to pour.

This week, as we fill our morning cups with our favorite hot beverage, let’s be equally intentional about filling our emotional cups with heaping portions of gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

And then… may our cups runneth over.


“I am building a fire. And every day I train, I add more fuel.
Then, at just the right moment, I light the match.”

Mia Hamm