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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Princess Twilight Sparkle”
Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Twilight Sparkle may have gotten out of her need to constantly write reports to Princess Celestia or do assignments for her on becoming an alicorn, but she soon finds her taskload has just increased dramatically–especially when she’s forced to take over for both princesses during a national crisis, and needing to both find them as well as stop a swarm of voracious, slimy vines from taking over Equestria.
Not even used to using her own wings yet, let alone her new power or responsibility, Twilight finds herself very quickly in the most demanding position she’s ever been in and forced to quickly adapt to be successful.
Life would probably be rather simple if all crises only arose when we were ready for them, or all difficulties we ever had to encounter were things that we could easily tackle, or all challenges that we ever had to assault were things we could manage with experience and ease. But we all know that’s not the case. Disaster and problems always seems to arise when we least expect it. And even if we’ve made preparations just in case, chances are it will still catch us at least somewhat off guard and happen at a rather inconvenient and unexpected time.
In a similar and perhaps identical vein, times to “be a Christian” don’t often seem to me to pop up in the most convenient of times. There have been times after especially good sermons or when I’m doing rather well that I am just prime for an opportunity to witness or minister or do something good that I feel will make a big difference and positive impact. All that needs to happen is the moment needs to show up. And, more often than not, time passes, I get less enthusiasm, something else comes up that distracts me, circumstances become less than ideal as I lose my own eagerness, and only then does a moment present itself.
During moments like that is when I frequently want to “sit things out”. I know full well if this had happened at a better time I could have made a better response, or perhaps, in some cases, I just use that as an excuse to get out of it. I’m too distracted at the moment. I have this other concern I’m worried about now. I’ve got to get this, that, or the other thing done. I’ll make a point of doing something else good later when I’m in better circumstances. Someone else would be far better suited to this need at a time like this. I’m too inadequate to do this. That sort of thing.
While I do believe that our talents and experience help better when applied to our domain (for example, I’d be terrible at taking an opportunity to be a teacher for others even if there was a pressing need for it as I have trouble with the social cues that you get in a classroom, but I’d be better as a general reference because I have a lot of content knowledge), the fact of the matter is adapting to a new situation or role, or attempting to address an issue that requires a bit more action and forwardness on our part, is never easy. There’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in Christian sermons called a “comfort zone”, or the realm of activities and actions in which I feel perfectly at ease and comfortable doing things. It basically signifies a sphere of influence where we have near absolute control and all circumstances are fairly guaranteed. The problem is it gets too comfortable. It eventually becomes a necessity that we are loathe to abandon, and we purposely shut ourselves down to experiencing anything new so we don’t have to risk leaving that state.
The Book of Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 reads: “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” This highlights the need to not just sit around waiting for the perfect time, because the perfect time is just that…an ideal, not a reality. The truth is the situation will never be perfectly ideal, and if we spend our lives waiting for that to happen we’ll never get anywhere except where we are. At some point, we have to be willing to take a chance if we want to do something new or grow. While there may be a few ridiculous exceptions, it’s a far general rule that no one ever became great at anything on their first try. There always had to be an awkward move into the unknown before they were able to get better, whether it be in a new role, a new ministry, a new talent, or a new attempt to help someone.
The lesson from this is to be conscious of when difficult situations arise and, with God’s help, to face them boldly in spite of our own fear and shortcomings, and to be conscious of not letting our own comfort zone hold us back when we have a chance to do something new. To quote Henry Ford: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you for all of the opportunities you send my way that grant me an opportunity to grow through difficulty, an opportunity to assist others through sacrifice, or both. When feeling downcast, inadequate, scared, or uncomfortable, please grant me the power of your Holy Spirit so that I will be able to face these challenges diligently and thereby grow more to what you have envisioned for me as well as to accomplish your will. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”