Too often we find ourselves caught up in dreaming about, longing for, and focusing on what we see in our future. It can cause us to lose sight of where we are and being effective in our present. Though you know your purpose, you have identified your passion, and you are progressively working towards that destiny that you believe is yours, it is important to mindful that the gifts and talents within are not just sitting there waiting to be brought out at a future time. In order for them to be ready for proper use, make sure that you are nurturing them, strengthening them, developing them, and getting them ready as you move through each stage on the way to your ultimate goal and destiny.
People often make the mistake of “saving” things and expecting to take off full force in the arena about which they have dreamed for so long. We are reminded in scripture not to despise the small beginnings and to be faithful in the small things as way for practicing and getting ready to be good stewards and managers of the greater things that may lie ahead. That encouragement that you see yourself giving to the masses, those books you see yourself writing and distributing worldwide, that product or invention that you plan on developing that will change the world, or at least some part of the world… all of those things have to grow from something. Be mindful, be prayerful, be open, and watch and see how God will prompt you or how easily those things will flow in areas that might be unrelated to where you see yourself going.
Currently, I work with students who have been suspended from their home schools. They come to my site from various schools for a wide range of infractions as determined by the code of conduct that is in place for the school system. In addition to providing a safe place for them and the opportunity to complete assignments and to not be counted absent, there is the opportunity for meaningful dialogue, group sessions, and simple conversations involving challenges to see things from a different perspective. Often, as I talk to the students, whether individually or as a group, I can sense a shift and know that the words, illustrations, and examples are hitting home with them and it is definitely not because I’m so skilled or so smart. It is because I have decided to allow God to use me in whatever situation that I find myself in.
This week I saw the most difficult and rebellious student change and become the most well mannered and cooperative student you could imagine. Things that were said “located” him as God penetrated through a thick wall and broke down barriers during the discussion my coworker and I had with the students after showing them an eye-opening video called “War For Your Soul” in class. As we shared not only facts and figures but personal connections we made with the content of the video, the discussion began to register with, surprisingly, all of the students. It is amazing to see how God will use the tools that you have at your disposal to make the right impact or impression on those whom you are assigned. We don’t always know the results right away, but today it was evident that every student was challenged to check or change their mindset and strive to do their best.
For me, the icing on the cake was a conversation that I had with one of the young ladies afterward as she began to talk about how inspiring that session was for her. She talked about the realization that many of the youth in her generation do not realize the sacrifices that were made to give them a better chance and how many of them are doing harm to each other rather than helping and encouraging each other. She went on to “give me instructions” about what I needed to do. She didn’t even realize that she was being used in a way that was far greater than just encouraging me. This interaction was a reminder for me to always be open, listening for instructions, and realizing that God uses people that sometimes we would least expect to help propel us into that future, that destiny, that vision that seems so far off into the distance. What if I had held back and not put my best effort into interacting with the students and into connecting with them? I would have missed an opportunity to be encouraged myself!
Make sure that you are preparing yourself, strengthening your gifts, and using the tools faithfully that God has given you. Until we are diligent in the small, hidden arenas, the great things about which we have dreamed for so long, will not manifest. Count it a privilege that you have the opportunity to be strategically placed where you are, even if it is totally unrelated to where you see yourself going. Ask God to help you remain open to learn and to glean whatever is there to help you, as you move forward in your purpose. Yes, the best is yet to come, but I am determined to do my best, to be my best, and to give my best right where I’m planted, practicing for where my destiny will take me. Are you? Develop that gift or those gifts… It’s a process!
This is what one of my students said to me today after the session:
“What you just did was so inspiring and motivational. You really should start thinking about something outside of this, something bigger. Today is my last day, but I’m going to come back. I’m not going to be trouble but I’m coming back on January 30, 2016, a year from now, and you’re going to have to show me that you have put yourself out there on social media, broadcasting what you have to say, putting videos out there because people need to hear it.”