“‘Someday,” said Miles, “I’ll find a way to do something important.’ Winnie nodded. That was what she wanted.
“The way I see it, ” Miles went on, “it’s no good hiding yourself away, like Pa and lots of other people. And it’s no good just thinking of your own pleasure, either. People got to do something useful if they’re going to take up space in this world.”‘
Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting.
DO SOMETHING IMPORTANT
I believe in our souls there is a longing to do something useful and important.
For some of us, we miss out on because we are looking beyond the place we stand at this very moment.
Do we know that our very important work is held in every breath we breathe? It’s at every turn of our day. Right where we stand. If only we open our eyes to the holy ground we stand on.
We are looking at the work someone else is doing, and suddenly ours feels like the drawing of a kindergartner compared to work which brings in high bidders.
Or worse, we feel we are doing something useful until we realize we are unnoticed, unappreciated, or misunderstood by others.
My husband works at an auto auction. One week a particular car has the potential to bring in $3,000 more than it did the prior week. Same mileage, same condition, similar color. Why the difference from one week to the next? The value has a range, but that one day compared to the other, someone comes in who sees that car and places on it a personal higher value. They are willing to pay more because to them, personally, it is worth more. It’s what they came looking for as opposed to the prior week someone wasn’t looking for it but maybe stumbled upon it.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR VALUE?
When you have something to offer, it will be worth more to some than it is to others. And that is ok.
Do you realize your value? Or do you place a value on what you give out to the world based on the rejection you receive?
With God, we hold infinite value. We should know this given the fact He sent His Son to die for us. When we surrender our lives to Christ, He fills us with unique gifts. He created us unlike anyone else.
I wonder if we’ve adopted an auction mentality rather than a proper perspective of our infinite value in God’s eyes.
If we would stop for a minute and realize that God is the only one who can meaningfully value us and then realize that what we have to offer from the gifts He gives us won’t be appreciated or valued by all, then we can move forward with the work He’s called us to.
START TODAY WHERE YOU ARE
Use your gifts where you are today in preparation for where He will lead you next.
Do you have leadership gifts yet you find yourself under the thumb of another? Walk worthy where you are and practice your gifts in your small circle of influence.
Give out the gifts. They hold infinite value. Some will discard it as worthless, but someone will receive the gift you offer as a treasure. To them it’s worth $3,000 more than it was to the bidder last week.
When I write, something inside me comes alive. When I fail to write, something inside me withers and fades. The writing doesn’t have to be shared for me to awaken. When I write in my journal or tuck away a document on my hard drive, something is released. I can’t fully explain it. At the same time, in order for this gift to be used to build up others, I can’t keep it tucked away.
Just like Miles from Tuck Everlasting says, if we are going to take up space in this world, we need to quit hiding ourselves away.
We need to walk as the person He created us to be.
When we began homeschooling, writing took a backseat. Full confession, part of me loved, even relished, in this “out” from God. Not because I hated writing, but because of the writing I was called into.
In my heart, I was jealous of the callings and giftedness in the lives of other writers. I would read their words and feel soothed, happy, light. I’d laugh. My days would feel brighter because of their words. And then I would look at my own writing. Some posts brought encouragement and inspiration to people. But sometimes it brought conviction or challenge.
To be completely transparent with you, social media has made writing from my calling painfully difficult at times. “Friends” back away from me. I notice the strange looks they give me.
The enemy has used this to create insecurity, fear, and jealousy. All kinds of ugly. The Lord has allowed me to wrestle deeply through these sins in order that I emerge stronger.
After my ulcer episode I had a friend suggest I write on lighter topics considering that some of my writing invites such intense criticism.
That only fueled my inner pinings for the calling of someone else. Why can’t I write on topics that simply make people smile?
I believe you know exactly what I’m talking about. You may not be a writer, but there is that one thing, that one area that you find yourself saying, “But God why can’t I have that job like they do, or those kids like they do, or that….”
If only I didn’t have to do (fill in the blank), then life would be easier.
This is a lie from the enemy.
We have a tendency to romanticize and glorify the life of another. All the while, the Lord has given us unique gifts and bents to bring Him glory like no one else can do. Right where we stand.
HOW TO OFFER WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS MOST
Emily P. Freeman writes this beautifully in A Million Little Ways. “Our offerings aren’t efforts worked up inside ourselves. Our offerings are unique responses to a living, giving God. As you take the bread and wine from Jesus, you offer it to others. It is not your job to make them receive it in a certain way or with a certain amount of appreciation. It is only your job to offer it.
Live your life like a hostess who serves the people at her table. She looks them in the eye, meets them where they are. She doesn’t spend her time distracted during the party, hiding out in the next room, calling all the people who said they couldn’t come. She doesn’t try to please a group who has already said “No thank you” rather than serve the guests who want more.
Issue the invitation. Serve those who show up with what you have and who you are by offering yourself and receiving the offering they bring as well.”
LISTEN TO THE RIGHT VOICES
This entire passage created a shift in me over the past several weeks. You see, God has been speaking to me. He has placed burning desires and passions in me. But I tend to hear the naysayer voices louder than His. I am prone to wander into the path of the discouragers rather than walk confidently where He tells me to go.
I listen to the voices who look at me like I’m crazy, or the ones who suggest I write a different way. These are the voices I hear through the megaphone speaker.
There are other voices I should listen to. The whisper of God who says, “It’s ok, my child, trust me.”
Or the blog readers who send me private messages of encouragement. Or the voices that pull me aside and tell me how the Lord used something I wrote but they didn’t comment or like for fear of what others would think.
We have a choice in which voices we will listen to. Choose wisely. Surround yourself with ones who will boldly speak truth and encourage you at the same time.
The caution here must be stated. Sometimes the words need to be heeded that seem to challenge us. Sometimes this is wisdom speaking. We must use discernment in order to know when a challenging voice is from the Lord or the enemy.
I love Emily P. Freeman’s line to live life like a hostess who serves the people at her table. Those words have echoed in my heart. God did not call me to write for everyone. He didn’t call me to be liked and accepted by all. He didn’t call me to write what feels good and tickles ears. He didn’t call me to write the posts that bring accolades and affirmations. He called me to write out of the prophetic gifts He’s placed in me.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Nehemiah.
Nehemiah had a task to do. Build the wall. But the Sanballat types were loud. They were sent to intimidate in order to stop the work of the Lord. Nehemiah kept His eyes on his God and His mission.
So he shut out the voices of opposition.
What oppositions scream against you? What gifts, desires, or passions are hiding in your heart? What callings do you hear from God but push aside because it’s hard to live for an unseen God when the seen world shouts with wild abandon?
And possibly, most importantly, don’t discount the daily, mundane, ordinary tasks at hand. These are important works. Don’t look too far beyond the holy moment where you stand. Your life will be most lived when you stand where God has placed you, offering all the gifts freely where you live and work. Always moving with the Lord in practice and preparation for what will come next.
Maybe it is as simple as these two things:
1- Receiving our valuation from God. Infinite value.
2- Living like the hostess who serves the ones who show up
Maybe this is how we stop caring what others think. Because if we keep caring much longer, then the ones we were called to serve at our party will leave empty when all the while we held the tray and the pitcher they waited on.