Can I Stop Running on Empty and Get Filled? With Amy Seiffert [Episode 242]

Stop Running Empty Get Filled Amy Seiffert

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book Starved by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

Are you getting by on a diet of spiritual junk food? We’re consuming, we’re filling up, we’re taking in, but at the end of the day, our souls are still starving. So how is it that we’re constantly being filled but left unsatisfied and spiritually empty?

Well, it’s often because we turn to our phones, social media, and a million other little things to find joy, fulfillment, peace, and purpose.

While these things might give us a temporary boost, ultimately they’re an unhealthy diet for our souls―denying us the nourishment we need to grow. They’re addictive substitutes that leave us weak and weary and yet keep us coming back for more.

But here’s the good news … we don’t have to stay stuck and spiritually malnourished.

Author Amy Seiffert shares how you can stop ingesting spiritual junk food that leaves your soul deficient of what it truly needs.

As we talk about her book, Starved: Why We Need a Spiritual Diet Change to Move Us from Tired, Anxious, and Overwhelmed to Fulfilled, Whole, and Free, you’ll learn three simple and replenishing practices to change your spiritual diet, leaving you delightfully content, spiritually healthy, and deeply satisfied.

If you’ve already listened to the podcast, here’s the O.A.T. acronym to identify if you’re spiritually malnourished, as well as the three S’s to address it.

O.A.T. acronym to identify spiritual malnourishment

Am I overwhelmed?
Am I anxious?
Am I tired?

Three S’s to address spiritual malnourishment

Seeing God’s image in others

Meet Amy

Amy Seiffert is the author of Grace Looks Amazing on You and is a regular YouVersion Bible teacher. She is married to her college sweetheart, Rob, and they live in Bowling Green, Ohio with their three kids.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Stop Running on Empty and Get Filled? With Amy Seiffert [Episode 242]

Amy Seiffert: In Isaiah 55 in The Message says, "Why are you spending your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?" Like, why are you feasting on something that actually in the end is starving you, you know? And so even thinking, like, what am I going to to find validation or to find peace or to find hope? And for me, often it's my phone, and I don't even know it. You know, where am I going? But, yeah, that feeling of we're taking and we're filling up, but, man, I'm still lacking. I still don't feel nourished and whole.

Jennifer Rothschild: Are you getting by on a diet of spiritual junk food? We are consuming, we're filling up, we're taking in, but at the end of the day, our souls are still starving. Well, we don't have to stay stuck and malnourished. Today, author and teacher, Amy Seiffert is going to help you stop ingesting spiritual junk food. And she's going to give you three simple practices that will deeply satisfy your soul. So let's get to it. K.C., here we come.

K.C. Wright: Let's go. Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hello, our friends. We're so glad you're back with us again. And if you're a new friend, welcome. That was K.C. Wright. He's my seeing eye guy. And it's just two friends, one topic, and zero stress here in the podcast closet. So I hope that's what you're experiencing in your world. I actually happen to be on the road while you're hearing this. I'm in Greenville, South Carolina --

K.C. Wright: Oh, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- for a Fresh Grounded Faith conference. So if you're nearby, there's still room and time. So check us out at, because that's where I'll be this weekend.

But good news, next weekend I'm going to be in Des Moines, Iowa.

K.C. Wright: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: And no matter where you live, you can come. Here's why. It is a Lifeway Women Live event, so it's not just me, there's other authors and Bible teachers who are going to be there, and it is a simulcast.

K.C. Wright: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: So you can watch it in your PJs or your yoga pants from your couch.

K.C. Wright: Hey, I want to put a challenge out to all of my people in Pella, Iowa, which is only an hour from Des Moines.

Jennifer Rothschild: They need to come.

K.C. Wright: I have lots of Dutch Pella friends who listen to the podcast. And, guys, just hop on the road and go right up --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: -- to Des Moines and see J.R.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: And not just me. Kelly Minter's going to be there. Several Lifeway authors. It's going to be so fun.

K.C. Wright: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: We'll have a link to the event on the Show Notes, or you can go to Lifeway Women and you can find it. But -- that's what's going on.

But I have to tell you, y'all, we're glad to kind of be back in the swing of things. Spring is starting to spring around here, and all is normal in our world, even for our little dog, Lucy. Lucy had a big beginning of her year, because Phil and I were gone visiting family for, like, almost four weeks at the beginning of the year this year, and Lucy went to Camp K.C. So she stayed with K.C. and Ellie for 26 days. But y'all -- so I thought -- 'cause K.C.'s got a dog --

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- Brennan, who's a little boy. Lucy's an old lady, y'all. I thought this should be easy. But, K.C., you've got to tell them what you told me about having to keep them separated.

K.C. Wright: Well, first of all, it's a miracle that you even got Lucy back, because my Ellie, who -- Ellie's 12, my little girl, she adores Lucy. When she comes over here to the Rothschild Homestead, she passes Phil and J.R. at the speed of light and she's looking for the dog.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right.

K.C. Wright: So it was Christmas, I'm telling you, just to have Lucy in our home. But, yes, I had to separate them because my boy, Brennan, is looking for a wife. He is single and ready to mingle, and so he did not care that Lucy --

Jennifer Rothschild: Is, like, his grandmother's age.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: I mean, seriously, K.C., I don't even know how this happens, because I can't even imagine Lucy has any hormones left. She is not long for this earth.

K.C. Wright: When I was home, I kept them together and they mingled very well in a wonderful brother and sister way. But I was nervous to leave them, because, I mean, Brennan needs a wife. And to be honest with you, we are looking for him a wife because those doodles sell for about $1,000 each.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, that's true. I was wondering why you didn't get him fixed so he doesn't -- but that's why.

K.C. Wright: Well, because we have dreams of having Brennan being the father of many nations.

Jennifer Rothschild: And each of those little tribes costs 900 apiece, those puppies.

K.C. Wright: That's right.

Jennifer Rothschild: This could be a lucrative second income for you.

K.C. Wright: Right. The males go for 1,000 --

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, wow.

K.C. Wright: -- the females go for 500.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's just not right. I don't even want to talk about that. But I guess it's because they can't procreate.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: But those males cannot procreate without the little girl doodles --

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- so these should be equal price.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Well, whatever. That's another podcast. Anyway...

K.C. Wright: But anyway, I have really no current plans to start breeding my dog.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. But you're just keeping your options open?

K.C. Wright: Yes. But Lucy, I'm thankful that she's back home with you, because, wow, we had some issues.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, y'all, the K.C. stories. And by the time you hear them, can I just say they have been filtered and tamped down. They are larger than life when he first tells them to me. Okay.

K.C. Wright: Oh, goodness.

Jennifer Rothschild: Anyway, I hope that made you laugh, because some of you are running on empty and some of you are running on empty because you have been ingesting spiritual junk food. You didn't even know that. But you're about to find out what I'm talking about, because Amy Seiffert is on the podcast today and it's going to be good.

So, K.C., let's introduce our friend Amy.

K.C. Wright: Amy Seiffert is the author of "Grace Looks Amazing On You" and a regular You Version Bible teacher. She's married to her college sweetheart, Rob, and they live in Bowling Green, Ohio, with their three kids.

All right. Are you ready? Let's go. Here's Jennifer and Amy.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Amy, we're going to go straight to it. So here's what I want to know. How can someone identify spiritual malnourishment in their life? Like, what does it look like?

Amy Seiffert: Yes. Great question. Okay, so this is baked into the subtitle. It's these three words. Am I overwhelmed, am I anxious, or am I tired? Really asking those questions -- it's the acronym OAT, which works because we're talking --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, food.

Amy Seiffert: Food, right? So am I overwhelmed, am I anxious, or tired, and really asking myself that in the moment. Like, overwhelmed is that feeling of being buried by something, like overwhelmed by a wave in the ocean. You know, am I feeling buried by something, and what is it? Can I identify what it is? Or am I feeling anxious? And I love the Greek word that is described in the Bible of anxious, which is merimnao, to be torn or divided. Like, you're in one spot, but your mind is thinking about something in the past or the future or somebody who's not with you somewhere else, you know. Am I divided? So feeling torn. Or am I tired? Am I exhausted, and what am I exhausted by?

And so really asking those questions and trying to pinpoint what is it and what good story do I need to nourish my soul? Who is God in the middle of feeling overwhelmed or anxious or tired? So it's kind of my OAT litmus test.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Well, and that's -- you know what I love about that, it's super practical, it's easy for us to remember, and it's a good way to interview your soul.

Amy Seiffert: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Just like when you're hungry, physically you kind of ask, hmm, what am I craving? Like, if you really pause. And so it's real practical.

In your book you talk about these negative effects that come from spiritual junk food. Okay, so you've asked these questions, like, am I spiritually malnourished? Now, in your book you talk about, then, what these negative effects of spiritual junk food are, and you refer to it as being stuffed but starving, which is interesting. So what does that mean? Like, where are we going wrong?

Amy Seiffert: Yeah. Oh, totally. Okay. So I don't know if you've ever been to, like, a theme park or a fair and you -- maybe when you were a little kid, or maybe recently -- you ate a bunch of cotton candy. Like, I don't know if you've ever --

Jennifer Rothschild: Ugh. Yeah. Yes, I know the feeling you're about to describe, yeah.

Amy Seiffert: Yeah. And so my kids actually did it this past summer. They had a bunch of cotton candy and they were stuffed. But, man, that didn't nourish them. They were still starving. It didn't get them what they wanted. Which actually I love -- in Isaiah 55 in The Message says, "Why are you spending your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?" Like, why are you feasting on something that actually in the end is starving you, you know? And so even thinking, like, what am I going to to find validation or to find peace or to find hope? And for me, often it's my phone, and I don't even know it. You know, where am I going? But, yeah, that feeling of we're taking and we're filling up, but, man, I'm still lacking. I still don't feel nourished and whole. Like, I have life and I'm really fulfilled and free in those places where I'm starving.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love that The Message even translated that -- or paraphrased that verse with the word "cotton candy" --

Amy Seiffert: I know.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- because that makes a good illustration, Amy. And here's the thing about that. We feel super satisfied at the moment. It's like, yes, this is the best thing ever, and five minutes later, it just --

Amy Seiffert: We're like, "Ohhh."

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, it doesn't deliver. And it reminds me about the lies and the imposters, that you talk about in your book, that promise us satisfaction, but obviously they do leave us starving. So tell us what some of those are.

Amy Seiffert: Yeah. Oh, man. Well, I mean, I start off the first chapter with our phone and thinking I'm going to really get connected and find connection, or even for me, validation. And it's when I'm grasping all over on the outside for validation, and it's just not hitting me, it's not getting there. And to stop and think, wait, my validation truly -- for those who follow Jesus and have the Spirit of God inside of us, our validation comes from the inside.

And really, sometimes I stop and put my hand on my chest and say, "God, I'm longing to remember I'm beloved," like, that you have called me that. And I'm stopping from reaching for the likes and just all the comments or the shares on social media, if that speaks to anybody, right? Like, going there and saying, wait, wait, I'm going to stop reaching for everything. I'm going to sit and remember that I'm embraced by God, by his compassion, by his arms. And so, yeah, I feel like I run to my phone.

I also run to self-sufficiency. Like, I've --

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. Yeah. I'm sorry. Can we talk about something else? No. Go with that, because I'm with you.

Amy Seiffert: Yes. The self-sufficiency, which is really one of the facets of pride, right? Like, I've got it, I can do it all on my own. I have to hold it all together. And really thinking, okay, what's the actual new nourishing narrative that I need? And it's that I get to be a sheep and God is a Good Shepherd. Like, I don't have to -- I don't have to keep it all together. I can say, yeah, I dropped that, blew that. I'm not self-sufficient. I need God, like, I really do. And to really practice admitting that. But I starve my soul when I say I don't, and I'm running around trying to make myself feel like I'm all good or I look good or...

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Well, and starving people eat anything in sight because they're starving, so we settle for less. Which both of those examples that you gave of those lies and imposters, what they lack is the presence of God. And I noticed in your book, you talk about how important it is to experience God's presence.

Amy Seiffert: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: So, you know, you mentioned even just touching your heart. But I would love you to share with us some ways -- like, when we're in the midst of that feeding frenzy, what are some ways that we can practically experience God's presence?

Amy Seiffert: Yes. You know, this just happened at the grocery store about an hour ago. I was in the checkout line and I was starting to feel a little bit anxious about some things coming up in my life. And I'm in line, I'm in the middle of my everyday ordinary life -- right? -- very pedestrian, in line at the grocery store, and I'm feeling this anxiety. And truly I did. I put my hand on my chest just in the moment and I just breathed, like, "My God has me. His compassionate arms are around me."

I love to use our good God-given imagination and really picture in our mind the story from Luke 15 of that father running after his son, who had spent his inheritance, and embracing him, and filled with compassion thinking, oh, we are so safe in God's arms, and picturing his arms around me. So a lot of, like, picturing a new narrative to feed my soul. I also do love, though -- so that's, like, in the moment -- right? -- like in those -- wherever you find yourself throughout your day.

But then I also love the good practice of finding myself a good patch of woods and taking a walk with worship music and, you know, just feeling the crunch of the leaves under my feet and how tall the trees are above me and imagining myself being small and covered by God. Just a good walk where I get good stories in my brain from good worship music. Because, man, my brain is such a -- it can feel so crazy in there --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, yes.

Amy Seiffert: -- you know. But to really feed it a good story and to think about it has been so good. Worship and walks.

Jennifer Rothschild: Worship and walks.

Okay, so here's the thing, Amy. Somebody's listening right now and they're thinking, oh, that's really beautiful and I can see where that would work for her. But I am so concrete, I don't even have a good imagination, but I got the same issues. So how would you coach that person to create these nourishing narratives when they don't have necessarily -- they don't think they have an imagination?

Amy Seiffert: Yes. You know what? It feels like such a practice to have a new narrative, truly. Like, I would say, if you can, find a Bible, find a place where you can look at Luke 15:20, that verse. And it describes five verbs about our Good Father, who created us and loves us and is moving toward us. And really see those five verbs. That he sees us, he's filled with compassion for us, he's running, embracing, and kissing us.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

Amy Seiffert: Right? And if you could just see that verse, and maybe practice looking at that, you know, before you go into a meeting or in the morning. Like, I spent weeks just reading that Luke 15:20 and picturing and then trying to imagine those five words applied to me.

Jennifer Rothschild: And they are.

Amy Seiffert: Yeah, they are. But to really know it, you know. And maybe write them out if you can, if you can journal. Call a friend and say, "Can I read this verse to you? I got to let it sink in." You know, like, what are ways that you can practice that good story that will feed your soul?

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, Amy, that is so good. And there are some Bible geeks right now, who are listening, going, Yes, I love that! Five verbs in one verse, I am all about it.

But here's what I love about it. It's the activity of God toward us, who he loves. And so I just highly recommend, like you just suggested, yeah, let's do that. Imagine the verse, write out those verbs. And just keep them in your pocket if you're feeling, you know, alone or not sure. I just love that. It's so practical. I can just tell your book -- which I only got to skim at this point. I can tell how rich it is, my people. You've got to be able to check out this book. Because, Amy, I just love, too, how quickly you go to Scripture.

So I hate to do this, but we're going to get to our last question. But there's a lot to the answer. Okay? So it's really practical. Because in your book "Starved," you give three specific practices that help address this spiritual malnourishment issue that we deal with. So tell us what the three practices are, and then I want you to make sure we know how to start them as soon as this podcast ends.

Amy Seiffert: Oh, absolutely, yes. Okay. I would say the biggest three for me is practicing silence, sabbath, and seeing and honoring the imago dei day in one another. So let me explain what that is.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, break them down.

Amy Seiffert: Yeah, break them down.

So silence. I mean, it is a noisy world. And what does it look like for me to put down my phone and pick up true connection with -- I'm talking five minutes of silence. Like, someone could end this podcast, and they could set a timer on their phone for five minutes and they could sit by the window, maybe try to get -- if the sun is shining, try to have that sun on your face, and sit in silence and just let yourself be loved by God. Let yourself -- practice remembering that -- and when you stop, God is in control. He's going to keep the world going. You'll be okay. And let that silence really restore that hurry, where you feel like you got to get to the next thing. So I've been trying to practice five minutes of silence a day, specifically in the middle of my day when my kids are about to come home and it's going to get really loud and really crazy. I try to practice five minutes of silence before they run through the door.

The second practice I would say that we are starving for is a sabbath, to where you set a day aside in the rhythm of once a week. You know, six days working hard. That seventh day, really resting from trying to provide for yourself, from trying to be God, from trying to do everything and just say, I'm going to rest. I'm going to put work away. I'm going to try to play. I'm going to try to get outside. I'm going to put my phone down for several hours at a time if you can. And just really plan on ceasing productivity. Because I think we're pretty addicted to it --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, we are.

Amy Seiffert: -- and it's starving our souls. And that's -- yeah, I have a whole chapter on what that looks like to sabbath, and then some practical ways to do that.

And then the last one, I would say, is really seeing and honoring the imago dei in one another. And what I mean is this. Imago dei, it's Latin for being image bearers, the image of God. That every person -- in Genesis 1:27, it says that God created male and female in his image. And so whether someone follows Jesus or not, or believes in God or not, that doesn't matter. We all are image bearers. And what does it look like -- to every person we interact today, if you were to say that's an image bearer, that's an image bearer. They embody the imago dei. They bear God's image, and I want to honor and protect that dignity.

And when we see such division, like, oh, they're on the other side of the political spectrum than me, but to say, no, they're an image bearer first, and I want to honor who they are in their story first, I think that could really help us have empathy and compassion for our neighbor when we feel really divided from them.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. All right, Amy. So give us the three -- which, by the way, my people, they're all starting with the letter S. Amy, you are a master alliterator here, and I'm loving it. Okay. I want the last three things they hear to be those three S's. What are they?

Amy Seiffert: Silence, sabbath, and seeing the imago dei in one another.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, of course, you know I had to mention the "Weight of Glory" quote there at the end because it reminds me so much of what she talked about, seeing the image of God in everyone. But I have to add one more little Lewis quote that I thought of as she shared. It's from the "Weight of Glory" also. And he said this: "Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are far too easily pleased."

K.C. Wright: Of course. Everything you hear reminds you of C.S. Lewis.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Okay, you're right.

K.C. Wright: I was thinking, we started with OATS, O-A-T-S. Remember?

Jennifer Rothschild: Mm-hmm.

K.C. Wright: Am I overwhelmed? Am I anxious? Am I tired? Am I tired?

Jennifer Rothschild: Am I? Yeah.

K.C. Wright: Am I?

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Anyway, keep going.

K.C. Wright: And then we ended with three S's: silence, sabbath, and seeing God's image in others.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, it was good.

K.C. Wright: So honestly, today, such practical, practical stuff from Amy. You need her book, and we will have a link to it on the Show Notes right now at

And that's the deal. When you hear these powerful podcasts that speak right to your soul, they almost prophesy what you're going through. You always want the book because you want more, or you're like me and you're binge listening to the podcast over and over again. Which I just keep it on Alexa in my house sometimes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. I do too.

K.C. Wright: But even better, you can win a book. How about that?

Jennifer Rothschild: Whoop, whoop.

K.C. Wright: Go to Jennifer's Insta profile right now, @jennrothschild, to enter, or we will have a link to get you there. Plus a transcript of this entire conversation at the Show Notes now at

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, our people. Don't settle for less. Find your nourishment and your satisfaction in God. You can because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

K.C. Wright: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: You can.

K.C. Wright: You really can.

Jennifer Rothschild: Now for us to work on your dog's satisfaction. Poor little Brennan.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, Brennan.

Jennifer Rothschild: Seeking love in all the wrong places.

K.C. Wright: I know. Oh, it's so true.


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