What if we saw our needs as opportunities to trust, grow, and learn. Have you ever tried to replace words like trial, frustration, difficulty, or fear with words like opportunity or invitation? I do this with my kids a lot now, for instance, “this is an opportunity to grow in character and persistence as you love your brother who just put peanut butter in your hair” or “what a great invitation to serve Jesus by cleaning up a mess you didn’t make!” Ok, they are starting to roll their eyes, but I trust it will sink in one day…but not just in them, mostly ME too, if I’m honest with you! For example, “what an opportunity to trust God through this seemingly impossible task (of raising kids! ha!)”, or even, “I have an opportunity to invite someone else into my sin and hold me accountable”. All those are still scary, BUT opportunity and invitation encourage wonder, change, growth, and maybe a little excitement. They draw me out of myself and into something grander.
Embracing a limitation, be it physical, emotional, time, or place, is an invitationto simply be where you are; a freedom to see more clearly what is in front of you – a time, space, and physical limitation that invitesme to abide more deeply. To be connected to a real place and time. To stay in my lane. To remain connected to the Vine right where I’m planted.
In a fantastic podcast I am listening to, Emily Freeman asks the question, “what if your limits aren’t holding you back, but pointing you forward?” If you’ve been around me awhile you might know that this resonates with me deeply – I may have been know to ask, what if your limits are actually gifts?
Do you know the story in John 6 – with the boy who had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish that Jesus fed over 5,000 people with? The boy who offered his lunch to Jesus? He gives what he has, and gives generously. Maybe he knew what Jesus would do – but that’s unlikely considering God always does far more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3)!
He just came with what he had. He came with what looked like a limited supply of food.
Not knowing if he was giving up his food for the day and would walk away hungry, or if he would walk away full.
But here’s the thing: he was honest about what he had and at the same time he didn’t hold back. He didn’t shrink from the service because the need was so great. He took the need as an opportunity to trust, and trust isn’t a passive thing. Trust is incredibly active.
When we come with open hands, bringing what we have, even knowing it won’t be enough, something miraculous happens. We know it’s never been enough, nor could it ever be.
He invitesus to be a part of the miraculous. The mundane bread and fish. The ordinary PB&J. The constant questions. The fear of the future. The sin we can’t forget. The anxiety deep and hidden within. The gifts, talents, and abilities we’ve forgotten we have.
Why not ask? Why not admit the need, the want, the hope, the desire, the dream, or the anxiety?
Why not come to Him with an open hand, where you are, with what you have?
Even in our needs, in our limitations, we have something. What are your limits pointing you forward to? Or maybe the better question – are they pointing you to Jesus? Allowing you to point others to Jesus?
We have something to offer a watching world, our kids, our friends, our spouse, our church. If we belong to Jesus, we’ve been placed in a specific place, at a specific time, with specific gifts and yes,even specific limits – for the glory of God.
Let’s give it to God first and see what He does with it. How will He multiply it? If we’re bold enough to ask, honest about both our gifts, our weaknesses, and our needs, then we open up our awareness to the answer and the miracle He is doing right in our midst.
We are invited to walk into an opportunity to be where we are, offer what we have, and actively trust and wait to see what God will do.
Somehow, I imagine it will feed hungry people, it will break chains of sin, it will offer someone hope, it will meet a need, and it will transform us.
Somehow, I imagine these opportunities will be beyond our wildest dreams.
Looking at parenting struggles as opportunities has come up in my small group study too (Paul Tripp). I LOVE this new perspective! And thank you for the reminder that while I’m sometimes frustrated with my kids’ sin, my Father is so patient with me and my sin.
I must say Tripp, among others, influenced this! It’s become so ingrained sometimes I forget! Love his parenting book. Thank YOU for your encouragement!