On Fire: Finding Your Gift And Using It

The world news hangs over me:

“Army suicide rate hits record in July” (USA Today)

“Years After Haiti Quake, Safe Housing is a Dream for Many” (The NY Times)

“‘Pussy Riot’ sentenced to 2 years in a penal colony in Russia” (CSMonitor)

“20 Shiites pulled off Pakistani bus and shot dead” (NY Daily News)

Why are soldiers ending their own lives? Why are so many children without basic food and shelter? Why are people killing each other for no good reason?

 This frickin’ planet is sick, sick, sick.

Add to my gloomy thoughts the daily grind:

 Bills to be paid

The car oil needing to be changed

No big opportunities or adventures looming

And I have a recipe for:




Then I seek relief: eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow…

The relief is temporary.

What meets me at the bottom? Darkness. Disbelief.  Loss of faith that God is in control, working with and loving all of His creation and winning.

However, I signed up for faith and for living a spiritual life as a youth. I can’t, I won’t go back now. I must return. Help! I cry out to God.  Where are you?

Right here, in this place, right now.

1) I embrace my life once again, giving thanks.

2) Then I return to the moment and, most importantly,

3) Take small concrete actions.

I ask myself: “How can I serve others? What gift do I have to give? What can I do right now?”

  • I can write: A blog post. Work on editing my class content. Add an ebook to my website. What helpful, encouraging message can I put out there?
  • Then I can be open, watch for opportunities to look people in the eye, say their name, acknowledge their worth. At work. At home. In the grocery store. At the gym.
  • Send emails, snail mail, call people—colleagues, relatives, friends—be present, listen, encourage appropriately.
  • Pay those bills, get the oil change, eat right, exercise—small acts of taking care of the main resource I have to give—me, my health and strength, my talents, my heart.

Doing the small things I can do, right now, intentionally and sacrificially are how I combat poverty, suicide, and violence.

How light overtakes darkness.

In me.

In others.

In the world.

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photo credit: Adam Jones, PhD (creative commons)

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