What’s in Your Hand?

“And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.””

‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This is a post for those who feel like they have nothing to offer, or that what you do possess is of little or no value.

Too often in life, it can be so easy to see what everyone else has going for them, yet miss the innate abilities or unique opportunities we’ve been given. Truth be told, some of us devalue our time, skill sets, and very presence because life – whether through other people or a seeming lack of success – has somehow caused us to believe we have nothing to give.

Our resources appear too few to share, our knowledge mistaken for basic common sense. From where we sit, it just feels like we are continually falling short – in experience, expertise, education, or exposure. You know – in all the areas that all the career and success experts out there tell us we need to be building ourselves.

Yet this morning, I’d like to challenge each of us to experience a life-altering chance of perspective.

Is it possible that the secret to your success is already within your grasp?

Over the last few days, I made note of my own previous undervaluing of both my skills and my potential. I like the woman 2 Kings 4 looked around my proverbial “house” and didn’t see anything with the tangible ability to improve my family’s future.

I mean, yeah I love to write, but who wants to listen to what I have to say? Sure, sometimes I give good advice, but I think I just get lucky that I’m right. Yes, I went to school and got an MBA, but look at the news – those are a dime a dozen – am I right?!

I was living with the mindset of “I have nothing except…” I saw the little I had, so small and alone and incapable of doing anything, until God breathed a word into my soul. He reminded me that He is a multiplier, that He can take the little I have, bless it, break it, and then cause it to increase. God reminded me that as I poured myself out to others – with all the gifts He’s places in me, no matter how small they seemed – He would allow His divine inspiration to continue to flow.

David facing Goliath had a smooth stone.

Moses looking at the Red Sea had a walking stick.

The little boy in the crowd of 5,000 had five loaves and two fishes.

This woman in 2 Kings 4 had just a jar of oil. Yet, on the instruction of the prophet Elisha, she borrowed all the vessels she could from her neighbors, and that little oil just kept flowing until she had enough to go and sell and pay off her debts.

What is in your hand? Look deep inside, open your heart to hear God prompting you, and go change your life!

40 Days Lighter – Day 37: Staying Inspired

 

Inspiration for the Journey Ahead

As this 40 day journey – which I now realize is simply the start to a new chapter in my life – quickly comes to a close, I have been pondering practical ways to continue to live out the lessons I’ve learned, and maintain the changes I have implemented.

I am privileged to have an amazing coach who continues to provide guidance on improving my physical health and encouraging me on my fitness journey. I also now have two committed and inspiring workout partners, who am I honored to also call family, and they help to keep me motivated in the gym.

As I stated in a previous post, I’m more than grateful that my husband and I are now on this weight loss and decluttering journey together, and I look forward to seeing how our love continues to grow and blossom in this season.

I am abundantly blessed to have a multitude of mentors, dear friends, fellow sojourners, and supportive onlookers who continue to encourage me, uplift me, and push me to become my best self.

But the truth is, the only inspiration that will make a difference, the motivation that will last, is what comes from within. I have to believe that I am able to continue down this road. I have to have faith that the God who is doing a deeper work in me will bring it to completion. I am the one who must decide that my life will never be the same as it was prior to the start of this journey.

So how will I stay inspired on this journey?

Well, these are the promises that I have made to myself:

  1. I will continue to affirm who I am in God, searching His Word, and seeking His face to find out what HE has to say about me – and then I will repeat those words to myself, especially on days when the road gets rough, the sun won’t shine, and all I really want is a pity party with some cake.
  2. I will be an intentional participant in relationships that encourage accountability and communitynot just receive wisdom and encouragement, but also to give it. Because there is always someone who needs what you have.
  3. I will tell my story, without shame or regret. I will celebrate the changes that have taken place in my life without beating myself up that I did not make them sooner.
  4. I will treat this body as the most expensive, valuable, and irreplaceable asset I own – because it is. I will make sure that the care I give to it reflects the care that my Creator has for me. I will care for others in light of understanding how precious we all are in God’s sight.
  5. I will choose the meaningful and the necessary over the cumbersome clutter.

 

 

40 Days Lighter – Day 22: Prepared for Purpose (Part 2)

Us

Robert Mulholland suggest that spiritual formation is about being transformed into the image of Christ “for the sake of others.”

Sharing our lives with others is always a risk. Authenticity, interdependence, and being known come with a cost. But the alternative to paying the cost of living a one-another life is to live cut off from God. By appropriately opening ourselves to each other in the presence of Christ we discover ways to “lay down our lives for our friends.” We learn how to become safe people who bring God’s welcoming embrace to others.

Excerpts from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us      

by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

Yesterday I started talking about being in a time of preparation. I mentioned our tendency to “think that one day we will magically arrive, like Cinderella in her pumpkin-turned-coach, at our place of purpose, instantaneously transformed” into the successful visionary we dream to become. Since fairy godmothers don’t really exist, it is fair to say that there is work to do on our part!

Yet the question remains – for what are we preparing? Some will answer that question by describing their future business, others have a vivid picture of a thriving family in mind. Still others hope to achieve academic success and other accolades or renown in their chosen field.

Ultimately, the greatest calling we ALL have on our lives, is to share this gift of life with someone else. Today, I had a small moment of transparency, that resulted in a variety of responses and reactions. Being vulnerable with those close to us can be a challenge by itself, never mind being open to “whoever will” in digital/online/virtual spaces.

Yet in my moment of pulling back the curtain for a brief moment, revealing my humanity (because I, like many, sometimes suffer from super-mom, super-wife, super-woman syndrome), I found strength in the very place from which we usually hide – I found strength in community. I was reminded that I was not the only one on this journey to discover identity, purpose, worth, value, beauty, and the list goes on. In the process I was brought to tears by those who having read my story, began to prepare themselves to tell their own.

I became aware that as I drop the weight, literally and metaphorically, as I declutter my physical, mental and emotional spaces, as I deal with the dirt under the carpet and the skeletons in the closet, moving out what does not belong – I am making room.

I am making room for community, for fellowship, for true sisterhood, genuine relationships, honest dialogue, and wholehearted, hand in hand forward movement in life.

And I am embracing this preparation process with open arms!