Doing what you want to do in life is not as important as working with what you already have. In life, you don't always get to choose your direction. You don't always get to choose your circumstances. You don't always get to choose where you're going to live, or how your kids would turn out, or even what career you'll eventually get. But you could ALWAYS choose to work with what you got.
Recently at church, our minister was teaching a Bible class and mentioned the "heroes of faith" as outlined in Hebrews chapter 11. He pointed out that all of these "heroes" were flawed men who screwed up in life, yet God was still able to work with them. Then somebody in class said, "That was all he had to work with!"
That was pretty deep for me. Even the Master of all the universe had to struggle with working with what he had to use -- broken, flawed, imperfect people who always messed up. Instead of compromising their free will and turning them into robots, he decided to just simply work with what he had.
Many of you, whether you're a believer or not, are familiar with the story of Samson and Delilah. Samson was to take the "Nazarite Vow" to be dedicated to the Lord's service, which meant he couldn't drink any alcohol, cut his hair, touch dead bodies, etc. The people of Israel were under Philistine control at that time because they've forsaken God, but because the Israelites repented, God rose up a "savior," also known as a "judge" during that time.
But Samson was quite a rascal! He was the most unlikely candidate to save Israel, and his ultimate demise happened when he got involved with the Philistine girl Delilah. As you know, Delilah bound Samson in his sleep and cut his hair off, which was his source for strength. The Philistines captured Samson, gouged his eyes out, and made him entertainment. Samson prayed to God to receive his strength back so that he could get back at the Philistines for plucking out his eyeballs. God gave him his strength back, and Samson pushed down a pillar that held up the building where the Philistines were having a party. The building collapsed and killed all who were there, including Samson.
Samson was one of the worst people that God could ever use. He was vengeful. He left his wife and slept with a prostitute. He grieved his parents. Why did God use him? Well, because Samson was all God could work with at that time. The Israelites were set free from Philistine captivity -- even though it wasn't in the most ideal way.
See, even the best of the best had to work with what he had. In the same way, you need to be willing to work with what you have. Your situation may not be the most ideal. You may not have all the tools you want. You may not be working in a career that you particularly care for. You may not live where you want to. But you know what? It's all that you have to work with. So instead of crying about how nothing is going your way, see how you could use what you have to your favor.
A cop at my church just recently told me a story of a felon who was released from jail. He couldn't find any work and was thinking about committing a crime so he could go back to prison. Having a criminal record is like having a bad credit report for the rest of your life. No bank wants to lend you anything (which is not too bad of a deal), so you have to scrap up cash on your own. Once you have a criminal record, finding a job would be a challenge, because nobody wants you!
The cop started talking to him and mentioned that he should buy a cheap van so he could do mobile car washes. This felon was good at washing cars anyway. At the cop's advice, this former criminal bought a van from Craig's List, bought a water tank and generator. He started going to different businesses offering on-site car washes. Eventually, he started getting so much work that he had to hire other people. Now, he's making six figures and built himself a beautiful home -- all because he decided to work with what he had. He could have given up and gone back to prison, but he took the cop's advice and work with the tools he had.
See, it doesn't matter what you want in life. What matters is the willingness to use the tools that you already have and to use them well. You may not be doing what you want to do, but if you're willing to work with what you got, then you might find yourself in a much better place!
Speaking of messed up people, I think about Israel's second king, King David. He was considered a "man after God's own heart." But he did some bad stuff. He had a bunch of wives, and if that wasn't enough, he decided to sleep with another man's wife and had that man killed. He denied one of his wive's any sexual contact from him because she was mad that he danced nearly naked in front of a bunch of ladies. But...well...at the time, he was the best that God could use, so God decided to work with what he had.
Being a former teacher, I know what it's like to have "favorites" -- these are your "star students" who are truly passionate about you. They are always doing their work, always respectful, never cause problems, and they have the best parents ever! And then...well...I had everybody else, each of them bringing in his or her unique struggles. For the most part, these kids do what you say, but they never give their best. They don't always do their work, and if they do, it may be average or below-average quality. Their parents act clueless or are just not involved. And eventually, as a teacher, you'll just get sick of looking at these kids who seem to kill your dreams as a teacher.
But what makes a person a true teacher is how well he or she could work with the stuff that's presented to him or her. Life doesn't give you the stars: it gives you all the space rocks that are floating around the earth, some of which could enter our atmosphere, and few of which could smash into your car! But if you know how to use what you got, you could take that space rock and sell it to science for a few thousand dollars! Those meteorites don't look so bad now, do they? A true teacher could work with each student just as he or she is and eventually turn that student into gold.
No matter where you are in life, you will RARELY (if ever) get exactly what you want. But who cares about that? What makes or breaks you is your ability to work with the materials that you have NOW. We get caught up in chasing dreams, but we don't realize that we could make dreams happen by using what we have. The dream that you get may not be a dream you originally wanted, but if that dream takes you places, would you mind? Maybe you didn't get to act on Broadway, but if you started your own theatre, hired your own actors, and had a great living doing so, would you really mind that you didn't make it on Broadway? I'm sure you wouldn't!
You don't know what your tools could do for you if you're not willing to use them. So take a step back, forget about your past aspirations, and look in front of you. What do you have to use? What can you offer? What could you do RIGHT NOW? Maybe some day in the future, you just might have what you wanted. But for now, just focus on what you have to work with.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.