When my wife and I first got married, I was under the delusion that I was practically perfect. I soon concluded that my wife had all the problems because, until we got married, I was doing just fine. It had to be her!
I’m not quite sure when I first heard the “what’s in your cup” metaphor or who actually said it. But the word picture goes like this: I have a cup of coffee and you accidentally bump the coffee cup. Now there’s coffee all over the floor. Why is there coffee all over the floor? The answer I gave was that you bumped the coffee cup. The individual sharing this with me stated, “No, the reason why there’s coffee on the floor is because that’s what was in the cup; the bump merely revealed what was in the cup.” The cup represents the heart of a person. The bump represents life’s circumstances.
In Luke 6:43–45 and Matthew 15:19 Jesus states that we live out of what fills our hearts. As I thought through this, I realized I was the problem. Oh, I knew what the Bible said about people being sinful and that all have sinned. For some reason, though, I thought it applied more to others than to me.
An interesting phenomenon occurs when you get two people in close proximity to each other: their “cups” will be bumped. So, when my wife bumped into me by something she said or did, how I handled myself revealed what was already in my heart. The problem was me. The “stuff” I said and did flowed from my heart. Not pretty at times. Then, as our children came along, the bumping increased. It seemed exponential. Praise God that He is an expert at changing what’s in our cups. Yes, at times things that are done to us really do hurt and wound us, sometimes deeply. The question will always be what comes out of your heart when you’re hurt or wounded?
Let me ask: what’s in your cup? If you’re not sure, pay attention to how you handle yourself when someone bumps into you. Be careful not to blame the other person, because what’s in your own heart splashes out on others.
There are those who have designed opportunities to come alongside others and help them deal with what’s in their cup, especially as it relates to our marriage relationships. One such opportunity is the A Weekend to Remember conference in Dublin, Ohio, coming up in October. Unfortunately this year’s event is now sold out, but there will be another one coming to Dublin in March 2018. If you missed the opportunity this fall, you might want to plan ahead for the spring.
In the meantime, pick up the book Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Drs. Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane. It will help you begin to deal with the “stuff” inside your cup.
Gary Webb is the Adult Ministries Pastor. He and his wife, Beth, were transferred down to Columbus from Toledo in 1988 while he worked for UPS. Gary worked as an engineer for over 12 years for UPS and Children’s Hospital. During those years the Webbs became involved at Grace. He joined the pastoral staff in 2000. Gary studied engineering (University of Toledo) and theology (Grace Seminary). Gary enjoys coaching, running, biking, swimming and hiking. Gary and Beth have three adult children and three grandchildren.