So much of what we do involves discovery. The all familiar “life hacks” for everything from cleaning your kitchen to giving your toddler a bath come to us not through meticulous experimentation, but more often by accident. Take Penicillin for instance. What was basically a dirty dish left out overnight became a breakthrough in modern medicine. You can read about it here.
Imagine the 14-year-old version of yourself. How would the younger you cope in your present life? Probably not so well. At 14 I had to take care of an “egg” child for life skills class, and it broke. Now I am a mother of three. Praise Jesus that I was not a mom THEN! But, how am I really keeping children alive? Am I reading child rearing books all day? No. Do I Velcro them to the floor to prevent freak accidents? Nope. Did I have to take a class before becoming a mother. Not at all. I got married, had some kids, and that is that. And sidebar- parenting and childbearing are separate things as we know. But unlike my “egg” child, my kids are intact by God’s grace and by the fact that I am the more mature version of myself than who I was at 14. Intact. I didn’t say flawless. Right now my youngest daughter is watching Veggie Tales with watercolor paint on her face that proved to be quite difficult to remove. It’s WATERcolor. Go figure.
Some say our personalities are fixed at birth, while others say that experience has a way of forming who we will actually become. I tend to think that it is a little bit of both. God designs us to have certain quirks and modes of being (nature) and then we butt against our experiences, the good and the bad, to help form us into the persons we are becoming (nurture). Here’s the thing. We all have something to bring to the table. Our gifts, experiences, struggles, and ideas are what we have to offer others. Even our blemishes, flaws, and regretted mistakes are on the table. So much of what we have to offer others, though, is unintentional. The things we work at with great effort like skill, beauty, and intellect are usually not what truly blesses others. The real blessing is in the cup of water given to the thirsty, because there Jesus is. It is in admitting we are wrong and being the first to ask for forgiveness. We offer our BEST selves when we stop trying so hard to impress and instead simply offer our TRUE selves.
You have a lot to offer the world whether you know it or not. You may be trying too hard to offer the wrong things, though. Take some time today to consider the people you influence on a daily basis. How are their lives better because of you? Don’t be bashful, be brazen. Write it down somewhere that no one will see. After that consider where you are investing your time, energy, and resources. Do these two areas (influencing others and personal investment) align closely with each other, or are you taxing yourself in ways that are unnecessary? You are your own life hack. You have a lot to offer in ways that you may not even realize. Be the person God created you to be, not someone else, but you. No one else can do that better anyway.