I’ve known Jim Doggett since our boys played baseball together many years ago. Back then I experienced him as a loving, hands-on father with a craving for adventure. He’s still that! But now, as part of the Battle for the Heart ministry team at our church, I get to experience him as a strong provider/protector who is passionate about the love of God. Jim is a speaker at our Battle for the Heart events and is currently leading his 7th team through the battle process!

– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator

Engaging the world

Our bucket is filled as we fill others.

I am reminded of a wonderful book I read years ago entitled “How Full is Your Bucket?” by Tom Rath. The basic premise of this inspirational read is that each of us has a bucket that is being either filled or depleted as we engage the world. Positive experiences fill our bucket, while negative encounters drain us. Rath encourages us to notice the bucket of others, and to realize that as we fill someone else’s bucket, our bucket is also filled. The analogy stuck with me. It has been a powerful reminder of the role encouragement can play in a person’s life. But a deeper dive into the validating voice of God during the Battle for the Heart retreat (and subsequent follow-up) has led me to a deeper understanding that strengthens the bucket model for me.

What am I learning about the validating voice of the father?

His Validation | Wellspring Group Blog

I am free to love at a totally different and deeper level

I must hear the validating voice of the Father to live out who I am created to be. Without trusting that I am validated as a beloved son by the finished work of Christ, I will spend my time trying to earn it through my work, my relationships and my behavior. The problem is, I then expect work, relationships or behavior to fill my bucket – and they cannot. Trying to fill my own bucket from my own behavior will never satisfy.

I pictured the way I have spent much of my life living in a way that someone else would notice and affirm me, and thus fill my bucket. I saw how I had to “manage” my bucket by making sure that whatever amount I poured out I could recover from other sources. Unfortunately my wife and children were my most sought after sources of filling. I was constantly measuring my value and worth by how my wife treated me or how my kids respected me. Of course this led to insecurity on my part (usually couched in self-pity) and frustration with the ones I loved most. My behavior was actually sabotaging the very thing I longed for—to protect and provide for my family.

But when I hear the validating voice of the Father through the Scriptures and take that deep to the darkest, thirstiest parts of my soul, I am satisfied. I am filled in a way that allows me to be truly generous—even emptying my bucket completely in my domain. Since I am not trying to manage it by receiving something from others, I am free to love at a totally different and deeper level. This in turn has led to better connections with my wife and children, which allows them to echo His validating voice.

And perhaps the best part for me has come as I realized that He is always willing to fill my bucket with what He wants me to generously give away. His validation is becoming my most trusted and renewable resource. Of course I do not live this out perfectly, but that need not be my undoing. His grace calls me back to Himself, where I can trust the truth of who I am and then engage the world around me.


One Step Further:

  • How full is your bucket?
  • From whom is it being filled?
  • Sample Prayer: Oh Kind Father, I long to live more out of the living water you provide. I long to live generously in my sphere of influence, my domain. I trust you. I was created for this. Thank you, and Amen.