I did it to myself, and I knew better. That last cup of late night coffee created my self-induced insomnia, and now I was dealing with its effects. Isn’t it something how our bed becomes this magical place where we suddenly remember everything we were supposed to do — problems to solve, relationships to mend, closets to clean — as soon as our head hits the pillow?
Over the course of the next hour, I simultaneously had a brainstorming session about a work deadline, confronted a difficult parent over an ugly team sports situation, cooked my bulk ground beef in the crock pot for tomorrow’s taco casserole, and basically solved our nation’s immigration issues, all without opening my mouth and from the comfort of my bed.
I fluffed my pillow a few times, tossed and turned trying to get comfortable, and then began a slow descent. Doubts about my ministry calling, frustrations about my church, worrying about my kid’s choices, and even pondering my lack of goals slowly crept to the surface.
Eventually sleep lured me in, and with morning light, clarity surfaced. My thought life had become all about me.
I stumbled downstairs to start a fresh pot of coffee (I know, I know, that’s what started this problem), and as I glanced toward my kitchen island, the first sun rays peeked through the clouds. It felt like it had been a month since I’d seen that beauty. It filled my heart with anticipatory joy of things to come, a celebration for the new day. And as I rounded the corner, I noticed the words illuminated by the rays.
Written just the day before as a reminder of my focus, I smiled at the Lord’s gentle nudging. He personally highlighted it for me.
Others, Jen. It’s as simple as that — others.
Sometimes we spend all our time looking in vain for some spectacular event, some larger-than-life calling, when it’s right in front of us.
I started being purposeful in my everyday interactions and even writing reminders on my calendar. Did I actively seek out the best interest of one new person today? One stranger with whom to interact? One lonely woman hiding in her cubicle?
We never know the impact one exchange might have. It’s in the small, seemingly ordinary of our every day that we are called to be faithful. It’s not just through flowery phrases or scripted reflections that He finds favor. When we live alert, with our hearts turned toward those around us at the grocery store, in our child’s school, or in our workplace, He multiplies our ministry.
Oh Lord, use my small, ordinary offerings to bring You glory. I know You’ve ordained them for Your purpose. Remind me, Lord, that You are the Potter and I am the clay. Each day, carve out a little less of me so that people may see more of You.
As I finished up a church conversation, I saw a gentleman waiting. I recognized him from our congregation, and he asked if he could speak to me a few minutes. Nearly ten years ago, during one of the most devastating times in his life, I shared a personal word of encouragement with him that impacted his choices so greatly that he wanted me to know.
I could scarcely breathe. He walked away, and I stood stunned. Tears rolled down my face with disbelief, but a new understanding washed over me.
I thought back to my life stage ten years ago and pondered what I could possibly have said that mattered. I was a young mom with five little ones. I had no “life.” When my days consisted solely of changing diapers, blowing noses, and a beauty regime that routinely included breakfasts’ dried oatmeal in my hair, my availability mattered.
During my invisible moments, God used me. I don’t even remember our conversation, which leads me to believe that nothing earth-shattering flowed from my lips, but I was available, present, others-focused. I was fully present in the moment with no agenda, no set course for that conversation. I listened, and he felt heard.
This wasn’t about a notable platform or words I had written. It had nothing to do with leadership roles held or some lofty goal attained. It centered around a small moment, a seemingly insignificant exchange with a stranger that profoundly impacted how he viewed his next steps.
The ordinary was used for His glory, and that can only be of God.
to bring to nothing what is viewed as something . . .
1 Corinthians 1:28 (CSB)