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, the vast scope of topics our mind travels to as we lay awake in bed?
Over the course of an hour, I simultaneously had a brain storming session about my upcoming conference, confronted a difficult parent over a recent ugly, team sports situation, cooked my bulk ground beef in the crock pot for tomorrow’s Taco Casserole and basically solved our nation’s health care issues, all from the comfort of my bed without opening my mouth.
I fluffed my pillow a few times, tossed and turned trying to get comfortable, and then began a slow descent.
Doubts about my blog, my lack of “drive,” and even questions of how I fit into this social media circle slowly crept to the surface. The new worlds the internet opens is truly a gift, but it also brings its own set of challenges and insecurities to those of us who share words here.
Do my words matter? Can I make this post better for Pinterest? Do my readers even care any more about my ramblings? Is anyone even out there?
As I write this, I shudder to think how easy my thought life becomes all about me.
Sleep finally lured me in, and with morning light, clarity surfaced.
I stumbled downstairs to start a fresh pot of coffee (I know, I know, that started this problem). I glanced towards my kitchen island, and the first sun rays peeked through the clouds. It felt like nearly 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.
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.
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, but it’s when our hearts are turned towards those around us at the grocery store, in our child’s school, in our workplace, that He multiplies our ministry.
Do I purpose in my heart to look to the interest of just one other person each day? One stranger with whom to interact? One lonely woman hiding in her cubical? We never know the impact that exchange might have.
Oh Lord, use my small, ordinary offerings to bring you Glory. I know that 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 conversation at church, I saw a gentleman waiting. I recognized him from our congregation, but not someone with whom I’ve interacted. He asked if he could speak to me a few minutes, and proceeded to tell me of a conversation that we shared nearly ten years ago.
During one of the most devastating times in his life, the encouragement I shared impacted him so greatly that he needed to let me know of the life change that occurred over the last decade.
Without going into all the detail, needless to say, my words impacted him.
I could scarcely breathe.
We finished our exchange. He walked away and I stood, stunned. Tears rolled down my face with disbelief, but a new understanding washed over me.
This was not about me. It was about Him slowly chiseling away to reveal Himself.
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 didn’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.
That’s what it was. I was fully present in the moment.
I had no agenda. No set course for that conversation. I listened and he felt heard.
This wasn’t about a notable platform or words I’d 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 used for His Glory. That is only God.
We could start a powerful revolution if we banded together and focused just one small, seemingly insignificant moment towards someone else, but let’s not expect anything in return.
Won’t you join me? What might yours be today?
I first shared this over at (in)courage, where many chimed in with their responses.
Ahhh, many a long night have been spent lately exactly like yours. Too many, to be honest. It is exhausting. Thanks for your candidness and gentle reminder… others… not me… others. 😉
It IS exhausting, isn’t it? Why do we do this to ourselves, my sweet friend? IT’s so much more prevalent for me with all this blog stuff and really trying to work through my options with continuing.
Thank you for your blog. I look forward to reading it no matter what you come up with. This one hit home since most nights i too have a busy brain that will not shut off at night. Even without insomnia triggers. This is a reminder that i need to work on this. Thanks
you are so welcome. Thank you for your encouraging words.
I had just written on my post that I wonder how other bloggers always appear to have it together and I find myself struggling to write and struggling to keep going with blogging, even though I love it. I, too, stay up thinking when I should be sleeping. I want to be up by 5 am, like a good homesteader, but I have not reached that goal yet. I’m so busy thinking at night that I can’t sleep and 5 comes and goes every morning, and I don’t get to see it. It’s good to know I’m not alone, but I still want to change!
You are not alone and honestly, I feel the need more than ever to just blog the imperfectly perfect side of life. It’s impossible to keep up with this pinterest perfect society that doesn’t really exist. It’s a day to day decision to embrace all that life gives us. 🙂
I found your website just by accident. but, it was one of the best accidents. I was in a depressed sort of day. I read many things on your site, and we hve very much in common. I think for sure that god sent me on this site to undepress me. It didn’t take it completely away, but made me understand in a clearer way what is going on. I am coming back to your website again, hoping to be able to come back on at least a few times a week. You wonder if anyone is reading? yes!! You wonder if anyone wants to read all you post, the answer is again yes!. I enjoy so much on the site. There is another woman that her site led me here. I also enjoy reading her site. I am new to this blog kind of stuff but enjoying this. I know God put me in this site for sure.
NAncy – thank you for your sweet message. When we get in those lonely times of life, it is all about perspective, isn’t it? Thank you for your encouragement to me and I am grateful I could be a small part in your encouragement today. 🙂
It’s amazing what are mind can do to trick us. When in reality what we need to know is right in front of us. It never seems to amaze me the power and guidance that God has in our lives. He is always there to give you that little reassurance that we may have in our lives. He is the little ray of sunshine that shines on our path , and leads us in the direction that he has had planned for us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts !!!