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Nothing Is Wasted

All of us experience a measure of loss in our daily lives. Loss of time. Loss of finances. Loss of a job. Loss of housing. Loss of a friendship. Loss of a dating relationship. Loss of dreams. Loss of passion. Loss of peace of mind.

12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; 13 for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. Philippians 4:12-13 (TLB)

Try being content with your less-than-rosy situation as a New Yorker who’s often asked, “What do you do?” even before being asked one’s name. And then it’s: Where do you live? Do you have roommates? How much rent do you pay? Where did you go to school? Are you married? Are you dating? Where do you go to the gym? What do you do for fun? Well, if you just lost your job or you still haven’t found one, that means there’s no cashflow  and no cashflow in your life ends that convo pretty quickly. How about if, and I have friends going through this and have been through this myself, you don’t know what you want to do or you hate what you do or what you want to do and what you love to do seems like it’s just never going to happen? Well, then contentment seems fleeting…

If you’ve learned to walk away from the comparison game and ignore the people approval need then there are the subtle and internal pressures like knowing you come from a family of hard workers who worked their tailbones off so that their kids didn’t grow up with the nothing they themselves experienced.  I’ve had conversations with children of immigrants of diverse cultures who all admit that the pressure is on when you’ve grown up hearing stories like:

 I had one pencil and no sharpener so I learned to whittle it down with a knife…  When I ran out of money for notebook paper I took whatever paper I found and wrote my notes in the margins… I had one uniform for school and I took care of it because you couldn’t go to school without a uniform.

You just know you owe it to your family, your culture, your neighborhood, your gender, YOU, to hurry up and get out of that situation of loss or nothingness/emptiness! And those self-imposed pressures can work strongly against allowing you to get your joy back or not allowing you to be rid of worry and anxiety. I know because I’ve been through lots of seasons of loss and loss in lots of areas. And since this is not uncommon to the human experience, every one will at some point experience loss. If you want to come out of that loss triumphantly, there are a couple of secret weapons you can use so that NOTHING IS WASTED.

merriam webster contentment definition

I just want to start out by saying that God is the Hero of this story and every story I’m going to ever tell. It’s just what it is. I can’t take credit for what only He does. He gives the joy. He gives the help. He gives the answer. He gives the restoration and He gives His UNENDING LOVE.

On that note, I’m going to share 2 ways I partner with Him to stay in the secret place of contentment in the midst of loss.

for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.  Philippians 4:13 (TLB)

The first thing I do is to remember and remind myself that I am in the palm of God’s Hand and that He is very aware of my circumstance. How do I do that? Letting go of all worry or restlessness, I remind myself of the times He has showed up before and turned my situation around. I keep a journal of daily miracles, and answers to situations, prophetic words I’ve seen come to pass. I make mental notes of stories I’ve heard of impossible situations being resolved. I celebrate with friends who see breakthrough. I am grateful for the smallest things and I see everything as a gift from my Beloved. I’m not talking about seeing the bad stuff as a gift. I mean stuff like I don’t have money for a metro card so I go on a walk with God and take in the sights and sounds of daily life as a present to me. I say, “that bird sang for me, that dog wagged its tail for me, that shop window that looks all cute as I walk by or that perfect cloud in the sky– it’s all a part of a living tableau for me. It’s art, outside the museum, captured by Holy Spirit who prompted me to look that way in that instant as a gift to me.” Grateful like that. It makes me happy and because it finds its foundation in Christ and His Love for me, well,  then seeds of power, strength and joy are planted in my heart. Joy that’s contagious and enters other areas or extends to other people.

There’s just something on focusing on the steadfast love and faithfulness of a powerful God and Father that chases out all worries and doubts and anxieties. When I start worrying, I always go back to this secret weapon first.

The second way I partner with God and another favorite secret weapon to battle loss that I’ve learned is sowing a seed. It’s a natural law that what you sow reaps a harvest and it’s found in Genesis. I’ve heard tons of sermons and miracle stories on this throughout the years, but I’ve also seen tons of daily miracles in my life so that’s why I do it. First the scripture:

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22 (NIV)

And now the stories. 😉 Ok, so I just want to say that this 2nd practical step is a very natural response to being in contentment and being sure that God is with you in every situation. That’s why focusing on Christ and God’s help is so important. When I’m thoroughly convinced of His love for me, I’m free from worry and restlessness, doubt and anxiety. I’ve traded all those in for peaceful satisfaction in knowing “Christ in me, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)  I have joy in my heart. I’m not depressed. I’m not being a loner. I’m not in survival mode. Instead, I’m thinking about how I can help others, where I can invest my time to make a difference, who I can encourage that needs a kind word. It looks like: giving an extra tip to the waitress who was mean because you’re extending love and forgiveness. It’s going to spend time with grandparents who are older and don’t get to many visits from grandkids instead of going out to brunch with friends. It’s stopping to help someone with directions, engaging the bank teller or cashier with a smile or conversation so they know you notice them and are grateful for their service. Sometimes when you don’t have a job or cash you feel like you have nothing to give or sow but really there is so much you can do! I mean sometimes it can just be something like taking the time to really do the dishes well or thoroughly clean that bathroom.  All of these are seeds that say, “My time isn’t stolen from me, my finances aren’t stolen from me, my relationships aren’t stolen from me, my joy isn’t stolen from me. What seems like loss, what seems like waste, is just an opportunity for me to enter this time of sowing and investing in others, in myself, in the Kingdom and I will see my harvest because it’s in the Word of God and He is faithful!!!”

And when you are in CHRIST and in HOPE you know NOTHING IS WASTED.

Kairos Moment: God’s faithfulness in helping me share the lessons learned in loss. Each new hurdle, new mountain to climb, new loss to await restoration for is easier to run towards as Paul did so that I too may say, “I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation.” Jesus, keep my eyes lost in love with you because a girl head over heels in love can’t help but feel content!

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