It is a blissfully cool morning in July. My sister, Heidi, and I are spending a long weekend at our own private writing retreat just outside of Nashville at a rural paradise called Evergreen Farms.
We are staying in a sweet little German cottage, surrounded by beautiful greenery and a wide variety of wildlife. There are geese and ducks floating peacefully on the water, kitties exploring their expansive territory while catching a few chirping bugs along the way, and peacocks proudly strutting around, often fanning their feathers to their full capacity in hopes of winning the admiration of an aloof female nearby.
It is the perfect environment to relax, refresh, reflect, and of course, write. This morning, as I was having a bite of the warm, freshly baked bread that had just been delivered to our doorstep, I began to reflect on Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
How incredible it is that God has plans for each one of us! Not only does He have plans, but His plans have been created in detail to prosper us, give us hope, and a future.
That got me thinking about how often I make my own plans, complete with their own special timeline, and how discouraged I become if they are not accomplished by then. I can always look back later and see how God’s timing and plans for my life were so much better than anything I could have ever imagined.
July just so happens to be the month that peacocks shed some of their feathers to make room for new growth. The peacocks do not let you come very close to them, so it is quite a gift to get to examine these feathers up close. We have collected quite a few colorful beauties scattered along our walking path.
When you take a close look at them, the detail in their design is truly mind-blowing. No one but a Master Artist could have created these feathers with the incredible colors and precision shown in each one.
Now, if God can give that much detail to a peacock feather, how much more detail has our Master Artist given to the plans He has made for our lives? How hard it must be for Him to watch us arrogantly making our own plans, feeling the need to be in complete control, without even a thought to ask for His guidance before making decisions that can affect the rest of our lives…decisions that can cause so much unnecessary pain, heartache, and disappointment.
If His plans are to prosper us, give us hope, and a future, why would we ever want to make any on our own without Him?
Stepping Outside of Our Comfort Zone
One of the reasons why we might feel the need to make our own plans without allowing God to intervene is fear. Fear of being led outside of our familiar and secure comfort zone. And fear of failure when trying something new and different. But what if being outside of our comfort zone is part of God’s plan in order to experience the most abundant blessings He has in store for us?
When you were very young, everything was a new experience for you. Some of these new experiences brought you so much joy which you could have never known without being courageous enough to give them a try.
Think about the first time you rode a bike. It was probably a bit scary for you, wasn’t it? But once you were able to balance on the seat without falling off, it became fun and quite comfortable for you. Now you couldn’t wait to ride your bike!
The same happens to us as adults when we walk through new doors that God clearly opens for us. Yes, it can be a bit scary at first, but once we discover the joy and blessing that comes from trusting Him as we try something outside of our comfort zone that He is leading us to do, we actually look forward to doing it again.
Using Our Unique Gifts
Life is all about new experiences, not about being stuck in our comfort zone. He has given each one of us unique gifts to serve others in a variety of ways – ways that may not seem very comfortable to us in the beginning. As we walk through more and more new doors, using our gifts in new ways that bring Him glory, we receive incredible joy and blessing!
I remember when I was asked to sub at the last minute for an instructor of a water fitness class at an athletic club where I had only worked at the front desk. I had never taught before so it was quite scary for me to stand in front of a full class of ladies who were used to having a seasoned instructor.
Although I had no clue what I was doing, I miraculously made it through the class with the help of the participants and I ended up loving it! I became certified shortly afterward and have used my gift of teaching (and a loud voice) to lead water fitness classes ever since.
God knows it is human nature to also have a fear of failure, so He addressed it in His Word to give us courage:
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:23-24
What wonderful promises to remember when we are given new opportunities to use our gifts to serve Him. He will direct each one of our steps while holding our hand so we cannot fall. And He delights in every detail of our lives – a guarantee that the details are not overlooked! There is absolutely no need to ever fear anything if we are walking close to Him.
A New Purpose for Dress Clips
Last year, I attended an antique show in Dallas and bought this beautiful pair of blue glass dress clips from the 1930s:Their original purpose was to add a bit of sparkle on the collar of a simple day dress during a time when women had a limited wardrobe after the recent stock market crash and could not afford to spend much money on new clothing. They were the perfect accessory to help women continue to look and feel fashionable during this depressing economic time.
When I purchased these dress clips, I had no intention of ever wearing them on the collar of a dress as they are no longer an accessory that women wear today. Instead, I had another plan in mind for them. I would repurpose each one into a stunning necklace. And that’s exactly what I did.
One of these necklaces sold immediately after a presentation I gave on the history of vintage costume jewelry. I am pretty sure if I had not repurposed them into necklaces, they would still be sitting at home in their cozy little box untouched. They were ready for a new purpose, outside of what was comfortable for them for so many years as dress clips.
Have you given any thought to how God might want to repurpose you to use your gifts to serve Him in a new way? Has He opened any doors recently that seem a bit scary for you to walk through because it may take you out of your comfort zone?
If so, take some time to reflect on Jeremiah 29:11 and God’s incredible promises to prosper you, give you hope, and a future. If you think for a moment that you need to have some control over your plans because He might forget about an important detail, take another look at that peacock feather. He is all about detail!
And if He will go to that much effort for a feather, how much more will He make sure not a single detail is overlooked in His plans for you, His child, whom He loves so much that He gave His only Son to die for you so you can be with Him for eternity!
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. I John 4:9
Sparkler #1: Prayer
If you struggle with the fear of failure or stepping outside of your comfort zone, ask God to give you courage when He opens a new door for you to use your unique gifts to serve Him.
Sparkler #2: Action
Memorize Jeremiah 29:11. Whenever you begin to make your own plans without any guidance from the Lord, think about His awesome promises to prosper you, give you hope, and a future when you choose to follow Him and live out His perfect, detailed plans for your life.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
What is one way you can use your gifts to serve God, perhaps in a way you never have before? When an opportunity arises, be open to it and allow God to use you for His glory. Then, be prepared to be incredibly blessed!
Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at kingdomsparkle.com.
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