The Cure For “Hollow” Hearts: Thoughts On Tori Kelly’s Pop Single

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The Cure For “Hollow” Hearts
Thoughts on Tori Kelly’s Pop Single

By Sarah Komisky

With a single that has skyrocketed on pop charts and has many of us singing (even on The Voice), “Hallow” by Tori Kelly has become a hit. Yet, many of us have failed to see the meaning behind it. We think: “Oh, a love relationship with a boy, right?” Ummm, guess again. Tori actually went on record to say that the song was about her relationship with Jesus Christ.

In the chorus she sings: “I’m fragile and you know this/ So hold me up, wrap me in love/ Fill up my cup/ Empty, and only your love could fill up my cup/ Because I’m hollow.” And if this is directed to God, then what does it mean to be “hollow?” A man named St. Augustine explained it like this: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.” Have you experienced that restlessness in your heart? That empty ache inside that is dissatisfied, discontent and yearning for fulfillment? Yep, it’s familiar to me too. But how did it get there?

One story in the Bible comes to mind. A lady named Martha and her sister Mary were super excited to have Jesus at their house, but Martha, determined to make it the “perfect” dinner, worked so hard that she didn’t enjoy or spend any time with her guest: Jesus. Frazzled, she confronted her sister, Mary, who was sitting at Jesus’ feet, and demanded that Jesus reprimand her (eek, the girl’s unraveling here).

In His response, Jesus gently said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled over many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her,” (Luke 10: 41-42). Gulp! That’s so me! I fill myself with performance in an effort to please God. Burnt out, I cry for intimacy. I too am hollow. And God knows that and knows performance will not satisfy. In the midst of my worn out heart and desperation for more, I am brought to God. Like Martha, He gently brings me the solution: Himself. The empty space inside is put there by God to indicate my need for Him to fill it. As a Christian, when we feel hollow, one thing is needed: nearness, communication, and time spent alone with Jesus. Here, I am “wrapped in love” and my spiritual cup is filled. And that is the one thing that can heal my hollow heart.

But it is not only perfectionism that keeps my heart hollow, it’s anything I fill myself with in an attempt to satisfy. That goes for all of us. If we have a relationship with Jesus, we may have shifted our hearts in another direction, resulting in discontentment, lack of joy, peace, rest, etc. In that case, it’s time to come back to the one thing: Jesus. He will continually give us a refill of himself that will satisfy.

Yet, as a whole, we are hollow humans searching for something (may I say Someone) to fill us. So we try food, vices, relationships, riches, fame, status, careers, education, material things, religion, spirituality, and church. And all of it leaves us hollow. Why? Because we are replacing our God-shaped hole with something that cannot satisfy because it is not Jesus Himself.

Perpetual dissatisfaction and continual hollowness can be a sign that we are missing Christ in our lives altogether. If you do not have a relationship with Christ, then God is using this to lead you to himself. Psalm 107:9 says: “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” When we come to Jesus, He pours Himself into us. He wants to know us and be the only one (as you would think in terms of a romantic relationship) to love us and satisfy us. That means He also shares with us the qualities that are His, like true peace, joy, contentment, love, and forgiveness, bringing wholeness and freedom.

The Bible reveals that King David understood this saying: “O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup . . . ” (Psalm 16:5). That means God alone can satisfy. So, when we are hollow, we can be honest with God because he delights in wrapping us in love and filling our cups. He alone removes what is hollow for He alone is our cure.