©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
The question is not if we can move beyond the walls to pursue worthwhile endeavors at this time, the question is will we?
Hidden in rooms behind a bookcase – for two years – Anne Frank wrote the renowned diary that has impacted millions of lives since the horrible tragedy of the Holocaust. As a teenager in the “Secret Annex” from 1942-1944, she documented her thoughts about life in confinement, relationships, God, and her desire to become a journalist. Although she didn’t live to see her dream come true, Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! (written April 5, 1944 by Anne Frank)
A diving accident at 17 rendered athletic Joni Eareckson Tada a quadriplegic. Her physical abilities narrowed, yet she persevered and authored almost 50 books on adversity, disabilities and Christianity thus effecting change and touching lives for generations. She learned to paint with her teeth, piloted a radio ministry, and battled cancer, living as an example of fortitude and faith and providing encouragement to others in suffering.
Neither one of these women waited until their walls were broken down or their circumstances changed. They didn’t embrace inaction; instead, they chose movement – to grow, to explore, to dream.
The opportunity to grow isn’t only in our talents; it’s in our trust.
God is more concerned with conforming me to the likeness of His Son than leaving me in my comfort zones. God is more interested in inward qualities than outward circumstances – things like refining my faith, humbling my heart, cleaning up my thought life and strengthening my character, says Tada who wrote A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty
Even when restricted, we still have the ability to grow, to choose wisely and act productively. How and if we spend our time effectively is up to us.
Is it possible our frustrations, fears and failings are the real walls that keep us restricted?
Limitations, walls and fences aren’t what block us from growing our gifts and using our lives for good; our feelings, lack of focus, unwillingness to adapt, and inaction do that on their own.
Physical barriers don’t have to confine our creativity or impede our growth. Establishing a routine, setting goals, and celebrating step-by-step successes can help us break down the walls of boredom, immobility, idleness and inaction.
God can provide us with the strength and energy to move beyond the walls to use our gifts for good and His glory.
Think of how a passion or talent of yours can help others and offer it now, or concentrate on the pursuit and development of it.
The sewing skills and kindness of a friend blessed me and my husband and many others when she made masks for us. A talented sorority sister is offering free online art classes. Fitness enthusiasts are leading virtual exercise classes to keep people in shape.
Musicians and producers are singing, playing and creating to collectively and individually brighten lives. A virtual Bible study recently started by a friend is drawing people interested in hearing God’s Word. Cards sent by a friend are encouraging others.
Many are taking MasterClasses, Great Courses, touring art museums online, or reading books and watching videos to boost their knowledge. Another friend focused, wrote and just completed her book. Several are taking this opportunity to tackle organizing their homes by reducing clutter and giving unneeded items to others.
In what ways are you using this time to grow, strengthen or use your talents?
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry… Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.1 Peter 4:3-5,10 NIV
- What talents has God given you?
- How are you developing or sharing your talents during this unusual time?
- If you are not moving forward, what emotional walls are holding you back?
- What changes can you make in your daily routine to help put you on the path to using or growing your God-given gifts?
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 23:20-21 NIV
Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™