I posted yesterday about a young woman I interviewed several months ago who recently passed away. I asked her if she could say one thing to people, what would it be, and she said: "Take every day that comes, and don't take any day for granted."
I was thinking today about how easy it can become to take what we have for granted. What reminded me today is my pride. I'm taking a course on headline writing for work, and I've been quite insecure as the majority of others in the course are seasoned journalists, and I know little about journalism. Today in our class, however, a number of people chose some of my headlines as their favorites. This made me feel very good. Which isn't bad. But then my good feelings moved to prideful and smug feelings. "Hee, hee, look at me! I can write good headlines!"
But pride is quite a shallow pool. Diving into self-satisfaction, you hit your head on the bottom pretty soon. You can only get so much pleasure out of it.
That's one reason why I love this verse so much: "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)
This is the alternative to self-focused pride (which is ultimately ugly and unsatisfying): The knowledge that we were created in the particular way we were - as handiwork - for the specific purpose of doing good for others. Now that is a pool that you can dive deep into. How wonderful is it that the particular talent or skill or temperament that God gave you isn't a coincidence? You were created for a specific purpose - a good one! Not to be self-interested or self-serving but to use your gifts and talents for others.
And this takes me back to taking things for granted. It can become easy for me to slip into taking my job for granted. But I get to write for a living! How cool is that? I also get to write about things that genuinely contribute to helping others.
This is perhaps one of the biggest lessons I've learned as an adult: That God did create us the way we are in order to use us to bless others. I did not take this as a given, growing up. Being the girl that sat moonily in her bedroom writing poetry, I assumed that like all artistes I was made this way to suffer. Starving artist and all. Not that I ever intended to starve (I like food too much), but I assumed that I would never be able to use my skills for anything practical. I assumed, as some twisted ascetic, that God created me how I was to suffer in order to become a better person.
I started out of college with my fancy literary degree working reception in a doctor's office. Oh, how I loathed that job! Screaming babies and mean mommies and germs, oh my! After this, I moved on to data entry. Which was actually really fun. I could listen to books on tape all day while I entered map information into a database. Later, I moved on to "routing" which meant drawing oil and gas pipeline routes into a mapping program using a lot of math. Actually pretty interesting. But not exactly suited to my particular skill set.
I always wanted to be a writer or editor, but to me those seemed like far-off dreams for people who were in movies like 13 Going on 30. Real people didn't have those jobs. Especially not in northern Colorado. But then I got my break into copy editing, which led to editing, which led to writing. I've been so very, very blessed on my career path. Not everyone would call the title "copywriter" blessed, but for me, it's just so wonderful.
And what I've learned since I broke into the biz was that God didn't create me as I am simply to frustrate me. He also didn't create me the way I am so that I can glory in my own cleverness...even if I can write a darn clever headline. He created me the way I am to help other people and ultimately bring glory to him.
This isn't necessarily the lesson God teaches everyone. While I've been experiencing this season of blessing, my husband was going through quite the opposite - a season of learning that God is good even when our circumstances are not. And perhaps I will be entering a phase in which my time is used primarily vacuuming (certainly not a skill of mine) . But even when our vocation or daily activities aren't using what we consider our skills, I believe there are tokens here and there scattered throughout our day in which how and who we are are perfectly suited to help others and bring glory to God.
Don't take any day for granted. Don't take your skills and gifts for granted. Embrace every day as a chance to embrace the handiwork God created you to be to do good to others.