Use What You Got!

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Every year, usually around Spring or Summer time, I start to desire change.  I tend to get bored with what I have and want something new.  Sometimes that includes things such as changing my hairstyle or hair color, new paint colors on the walls in my home or something as simple as a just buying a few new outfits.  This year, I decided that I wanted to switch things up a bit in my living room.  Nothing too extreme, just exchanging existing furniture pieces for new ones – and so the shopping began.

I immediately visited one of my favorite furniture websites in search of new end tables for my living room.  I found a few options that I liked and was trying to determine which set I wanted to purchase.  It was hard to decide, as they were all so nice.  I was trying to imagine what new end tables would look like in the room, and it was a little difficult.  You see my existing pieces were not end tables at all. They were cabinets and each a different size and shape, so it was hard to imagine something completely new in that space. Suddenly, I remembered that I had end tables in my guestroom and thought they were probably the right height, so I could at least get an idea of what the new tables would look like before ordering them.  So, I brought them down and put one on either side of the couch.  Voila!  They were perfect!  In fact, they looked so good that I started to question whether or not I even needed to purchase new tables at all.  I mean, yes, I would be taking them from the guest room (which was hardly ever used anyway), and yes, that would leave that space empty, but they looked great in the living room.  I stood back and even took a picture with my phone and couldn’t believe how wonderful they looked in the room.  It made the space look a lot bigger than what it is and the color and style of the tables was perfect for the room.  Not to mention, I saved myself $400, which was the price of the new tables that I planned on purchasing.

Shortly after putting the tables into place and getting them cleaned up and decorated, I posted the old pieces of furniture for sale on Craigslist.  A young couple, who had just moved into their first apartment came by a few days later and picked them up.  Yay!  Everyone wins!

As I thought about this experience, I heard God say something to me, “Use what you got.”  He began to show me that I had those end tables for years and all they did was collect dust in the guest room.   I never even considered bringing them down to the living room, but when I did, what a difference it made.  Not only to me, my home and my family, but it also benefited the couple who was able to find cute affordable furniture for their first apartment.

I wondered how many people already have what they need and don’t even know it.

Many of us are praying for something, not realizing that we already possess the answer. We ask God for answers and solutions to our problems, but many times, God has already supplied us with what we need, we just aren’t using it.  In fact, we may not even realize it’s there. So many times we believe that we need something NEW, when really we just need to use what we already have – possibly in a new way!

My guest room tables were collecting dust for years, ignored and unused. What a waste!  Those tables didn’t look nearly as good in the guestroom as they do in the living room.  In fact they were a little too large for the bedroom, but in the living room they were the perfect size.  Now they have new purpose.

What is it that you need?  What is it that you have been praying for?  Is there something that you have been asking God to give you, send you, or provide for you?  Is it possible that you already have what you need?

I am not only referring to furniture pieces and our other belongings (although that may be the case for you as well), but also the hidden things – the strengths,  gifts, talents, and abilities that we have on the inside of us that remain dormant and underutilized.

What is it that you already have, but are not using?  Or what do you already have that may need to be re-purposed and used in a new way?  Maybe the answer to your prayer or problem is sitting somewhere collecting dust.  Go get it and put it to use!

Just a little reminder that our answers aren’t always found in something new.  Survey what you already have, and who knows, you may be surprised to find that you had what you needed all along!

Love,

Melissa

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What’s yours like?

What’s Yours Like is one of the games that our family enjoys playing on Family Game Night.  It’s a game where we have to figure out what object is on the playing card.  In order to do that we have to ask each person “what’s yours like”.  The person who guesses the answer in the least amount of tries wins.  It’s a pretty interesting game and we always have lots of fun playing it together.

So, my question to you today is……what’s yours like?  I am talking about your gift.  Yes, your gift.  We all have one; at least one.  God has created every single one of us so special and has given each of us a special (and unique) gift.

Psalm 139:14 ~ I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Many years ago, people would tell me that I was way too nice.  They would tell me that I smiled too much.  They would say things like, “you are always defending people and trying to see the best in them”.  I would even be called things like ‘naive’ and ‘gullible’, because I would tend to listen to and try to understand what people were going through.  At first, it made me think that there was something wrong with me.  Why was I like that?  Why did I care about people who others thought were just ‘lost causes’ or ‘low lifes’.  Over time, I began to understand that the reason I cared was because that is the way God made me.  God gave me a gift and that gift is compassion.

God placed inside of me compassion for people, specifically hurting people and those who have ‘messed up’ their lives.  Along with the gift of compassion, God has given me the gift of encouragement.  Yes, that is a gift.  It took me a long time to realize that my compassion for people and my ‘natural’ ability to encourage people was actually a gift from God.

Romans 12:6-10 ~ Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;  or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Did you notice some of the gifts listed above?  The gift of prophecy, serving, teaching, providing advice, leading, giving and showing mercy.  Have you ever thought of those things as gifts before?  Do you possess any of those abilities?  Or what about the following:  hospitality, administration, humor, friendship, organization or multitasking.  Do any of those things apply to you?

Then there are the more obvious gifts such as singing, dancing, painting, gardening, playing an instrument and cooking (just to name a few).  At one time, I thought that people who could do these things were way more gifted than I was.  I thought that I was just an average person, with no real gift and/or talent and that these people were God’s ‘special gifted people’.  Then God began to show me that He has given every single one of us a gift.  No gift is better than the other, they are just different.  I believe it is our job to find out what our gift is and then use it for God.

There are also things that people don’t look at as being gifts, yet they are.  For instance, many children (specifically boys) have lots of energy.  They have a hard time sitting still and are usually focused on many things at one time.  The “professionals” now a days call this ADD or ADHD.  I believe that many of these children are just normal kids who have special gifts, such as the gift of multitasking.  God created men to be doers, conquerors, hunters and providers, so it makes sense to me that boys would have a hard time sitting still. Or what about people who start things and never finish them?  The world calls these people ‘Quitters’.  What if  that is actually a gift?  Maybe they should start-up companies, plant churches or do some sort of business development.  They weren’t made to follow things through in some instances, they may just be there to get things started.

My youngest son has this amazing ability to lead.  I’ve been told from the time he was 4 years old that he is a “natural leader”.  No matter where he goes, people tend to follow him and/or put him in charge.  His grandmother even has a nickname for him “The Ambassador”.  I think this is a wonderful gift to have, but only if it is used properly.  If he uses his gift to lead people to do things that are wrong, then he has misused the gift God gave him.  I believe that our gifts come with great responsibility, especially the gift of leadership. It is our responsibility to not only use our gifts, but to use them in the right way….for God’s glory.

Now, I have another question for you.  What about a person who is born blind?  Or deaf?  Would you consider those to be gifts?  Did you know that even those things are a gift from God? 

Exodus 4:11~ The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

Psalm 139:13 ~ For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

Please take a look at the following story about a man who was born without arms and without legs.

http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/about-nick

Pretty amazing, huh?  Reading this story really put things in perspective for me.  God created this man without arms and without legs for His purpose.  Most people would look at this as being a curse.  Many mothers may have chosen to abort him, thinking that he would never live a prosperous life.  Look how wonderful his life is today!  He is leading a happy and fulfilled life, because he realized the gift(s) God gave him, and now he uses those things for the glory of God!

So, I will end in the same way I started, by asking you ….what’s yours like?  What is your gift and how are you using it?  Are you using those things that come naturally to you to glorify God?  I would like to challenge you to begin doing so today.  Remember that you must know the One who gives the gifts to truly understand your gift(s) and how to use them.

1 Peter 4:10 ~ As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.