Today is my birthday and on my birthday, I’ve been known to reflect. Over the years I’ve learned to treasure possibilities and opportunities, not something I’ve always done.
At times I cringe a little, thinking about the young woman who struggled with self-esteem issues, self-centeredness, and self-awareness (a lot of self!) and missed some of the possibilities and opportunities around her, misunderstanding others.
Looking back, I’ve learned that the best possibilities and opportunities, the right possibilities and opportunities are really God’s possibilities in, through, and around me—in, through, and around all of us.
So today I look back in gratitude and ahead with anticipation, a gift I hope to be able to share with all of you.
Too often I’ve made possibilities and opportunities all about me and not about God.
I’ve treated opportunities as possibilities to be grabbed, that “take-the-shot” moment in a game. In middle school, I played a little basketball in PE class. I was expected to be good, because I was tall. I was tall, but I was not good. I was terrible. I’d grab the ball and then hog the ball, planting myself under the hoop, taking shot after shot after shot.
I could hit the basket; I just couldn’t get anything to go into it. Invariably I’d get a lane violation and have to turn the ball over to the other team. Rarely did I see and appreciate the possibilities and opportunities around me, the better shot, the better play, the better player!
I’ve aimed at the hoop throughout life, often trying to force the shot, seizing possibilities and opportunities that were of my making, not God’s. Thinking I was going to be a school teacher when I graduated from college, I took shot after shot after shot. I missed the basket in student teaching and again in my first job.
Thinking I was going to be a labor leader, I missed the basket as a local president and again as a statewide political organizer and lobbyist. And then I got that lane violation ~ as in way too much time in that lane!
Yes, all-about-me possibilities and opportunities that didn’t turn out well.
At other times I’ve made opportunities all about my ease and comfort.
Ladies, I still have a Kirby Omega vacuum in my closet. Why? Because I wanted to get out of a more mundane responsibility in college.
You know the one, cleaning. When a young man knocked on the front door of our rental, offering to shampoo our carpets for free, I was delighted. Free is free, right?
Well, free is free unless it’s not. By the time he left, I was finding room for that Kirby Omega vacuum, box of ten must-have attachments, and the oh-so-very necessary duster buffer (whatever that was…). Coming in the mail, would be a book of payment coupons for the two-year purchase plan.
Yep, an all-about-me possibilities and opportunities with costly implications.
I’ve also tied opportunities to my own expectations.
I’ve waited for doors to open just because I was standing in front of them, kinda like the grocery store. After publishing my first book, I expected doors and windows to open, streets and highways to be paved with new opportunities for me as an inspirational writer and motivational speaker. Not once did I look for God’s possibilities and opportunities in some key decisions.
I’m not perfect.
I’ve had lots of missteps and cringe-worthy moments of drama. Too often I’ve missed God’s possibilities and opportunities. You might be nodding your head also. We can find ourselves focusing on the wrong stuff, the wrong moment, the wrong situation. We can sell ourselves short.
But God needs you and me to be who He made us to be. And for each one of us are carefully crafted, wonderfully designed possibilities and opportunities.
When I reflect back, I’ve often wanted to be able to advise and counsel my younger self, to set her straight, to help her understand and appreciate God’s possibilities and opportunities that would be there for me.
But honestly, in the misunderstandings have been important lessons. And through those lessons, I’m better able to see how God’s been with me in the most beautiful and profound and best possible possibilities and opportunities.
Last Sunday our message in church was about belief and faith…
…belief being a noun (what we believe) and faith really being a verb (what we do with our belief). I believe in God. I believe He’s the Creator (capital C) of you and me and this wonderful world in which we live. I believe His Son Jesus died for me and for you, that He rose again so we might have life forever with Him.
I know that God’s been in the details of my life—all of our lives—in ways not expected, never imagined. But I still struggle with Deanna’s will, her way, her when versus God’s, that “faith” piece.
My business coach and friend, Kim Peterson, has asked me more than once, “Deanna, do you believe God is who He says He is?”
I want to have faith in God’s possibilities. I want to have faith in His opportunities. I want verbs in my life. You, too?
I want our walk with God and each other to reflect an unwavering faith. You and I are God’s creation, beautifully and wonderfully made (said the woman whose 16th birthday included blue eyeshadow).
This is not about deserving His favor, earning His love. It’s not about winning some heavenly lottery. It’s about being His children, celebrating who we get to be and what we get to do as His children.
Ladies, our lives will be full of God’s possibilities and opportunities.
I pray that we will take God’s gift and open it, delight in it, treasure it, and then re-gift it. I pray we’ll celebrate these days that He has made.
You and I have an amazing place in God’s great story, in His great family, one of great possibilities, great opportunities. How cool is that!
This week a Facebook memory shared the dedication from my second book, Signs in Life. From Deuteronomy 31:8 comes wonderful encouragement:
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Yes, the Lord himself goes before us and will be with us. His possibilities and opportunities.