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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Appleloosa’s Most Wanted”

Troubleshoes Clyde has a good reason to be upset in this episode aside from his perennial bad luck. He’s an individual who had a passion growing up and spent years trying to develop it; namely being able to participate in rodeos. That was his dream and he thought it was his purpose. Yet because of his Cutie Mark, he failed at all the events he tried no matter how hard he worked at it. By the time the Cutie Mark Crusaders run into him in the episode, he had to be in a rather sad state…having devoted so much time to trying to pursue his dream only to be resigned to the fact he couldn’t be what he wanted to be, and likely feeling he had wasted time and energy on it all along…something that only made him more miserable.

Yet as the CMCs showed him, it turns out his love for rodeos and desire to be in one wasn’t for nothing. He just ended up participating in a different way than he intended, making use of his “clumsiness talent” to entertain the audience rather than outright competing.

That makes me think of my own life and, what I imagine, are the lives of many others. As we get older, we all realize there are some things we wish we had spent less time on; whether it be worrying, regrets, or simply realizing something was no good for us. Yet I think we all probably have one or two periods in our life where something was a very worthwhile pursuit, or so we thought at the time, and was likely a passion or something we could see ourselves doing for the rest of our lives…and then we ended up having to abandon it. At times like that, we might feel especially low. Not only did we miss out on the chance to do something we loved and, perhaps, if we’re more Christian-minded, thought it was even our purpose, we also found ourselves wondering how much time, energy, and resources we wasted on a false pursuit.

From my own personal experience, I spent much of my life trying to be a biologist. I got my bachelor’s degree and attempted to find a job, but couldn’t get hired. I ended up going to get my master’s as well. It took a lot of effort and I had to change my final project, but I got the degree. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get hired anywhere even then. No one wanted my subdomain of biology, and I ended up working overnights for a retail store. Finally, I went back to school to try and get a certificate to teach biology in public schools, but I turned out not to be good with students and I had to drop out of the program less than two semesters from completion.

I was devastated. When my parents suggested to me I take up computer engineering, I only felt more downcast. This would be my fourth time going back to school when the first three times had produced nothing except a need to spend more time and money in education.I felt I was never going anywhere and I’d be stuck unemployed forever. I felt so hopeless that I believed this was another empty gesture. Yet I ended up reluctantly going for it as I had nothing else to do. After going to class solidly through summers to try and get the degree as soon as possible, I acquired a degree in computer engineering.

During my last year I went to a job fair and gave my application to one software company. I ended up going all the way to and through the interview, and I was hired. I ended up being very good at my job, and as a result I’ve already been promoted and I have received highly favorable reviews. At last I have a career and independence.

But here’s the moral of this anecdote. What stood out on my resume, what stunned the interviewer and made me reside in their memory during the process, was that I had a biology background including a master’s degree. That was surprising to them: an applicant with great scores in computer engineering who, until a few years ago, had devoted his life to biology. It wasn’t in the way I intended it, but those years of being passionate about biology had ended up getting my full-time employment after all…even if it wasn’t how I intended it.

The take-home message from this is short, but I feel is poignant. When you trust your way to God and seek his will, don’t every think that anything that you do is “wasted”. While it may not pay off as you intend or give you exactly what you desire, everyone is a work in progress and a sum of life experiences. What you spend a great deal of time in your life doing may end up preparing you for something greater. Just ask a household servant named Joseph, a shepherd named David, or a carpenter named Jesus of Nazareth.

As Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that when I commit and trust my life to you, and I ‘seek first the Kingdom of God’, that even in the valleys and slow parts of my life, or the times when I suffer from a dream deferred, that you are making something of me that will help me to grow and mature into all that you want me to be and do. Help me to take heart in this even in my darkest times of self-despair. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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