Two Questions to Consider Every Day

This week is the one year anniversary of the start of this little blog.

A year ago about this time I had nothing.

Ok, that’s “a lie from the pit of hell“, as daughter Maggie would say.  I “had” a lot of things.  A lovely home, and delightful family and friendships I treasured.  But it felt like I had nothing partly because I didn’t have an impressive job title.  Actually I didn’t have any job title.

I felt like an untethered space station floating in the inky cosmos.

We had just returned from a five month sabbatical and I was clueless about how the next season of my life would look.  What was my “place“?  Who was my “tribe“?  Was there anywhere God could use me to add value?

The answers seemed to be “nowhere”, “no-one”, and “nowhere” (again).

Maybe your circumstances are different, but you can relate.  You’re “in transition” (that horrible euphemism for “in a place that feels scary and directionless“). Or maybe you’re just feeling unsettled and under-utilized.

So I prayed.  And I prayed.  And I prayed.  And by that I mean I yelled at God a lot.

And once in awhile between my rants I tried to listen for His whispers.

And when I did, here’s what God said.  “Use the flour and oil I’ve already given you.”

Ok, it went a little different than that, but that was the bottom line.

And actually, God didn’t whisper, it was more like He shouted with clarity through the account of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath.

You remember that story in 1 Kings 17 when God sends Elijah to the widow telling him she’ll supply him with food, but when he arrives and asks for a meal she tells him all she has is a handful of flour and a little oil that she was going to use to make one last meal for her and her son before they die.

Elijah says, no problem, just start baking “from what you have” and God will make it enough.  And yep, “there was food for every day.”  “The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry.”

So here are two questions I’ve been trying to answer each day:

1.  What’s your flour and oil?  Don’t focus on your nothing, focus on your something.  How often do you rehearse a list in your head that goes something like, “I don’t have…the right degree, an invitation, enough experience, contacts, a husband, money…”

Instead, identify the flour and oil (however small that may seem) that God has put in your hands.  It might be a relationship, or words, or a home, or information, or a car or a flexible schedule, or a pot of soup or an idea

2.  What are you going to do with it today?  The flour and oil plan can seem fuzzy and uncomfortable, but that’s ok.  The good part of feeling out of control is that you have to trust God and lean into Him.  Like “Ok God, this is Your gig so I’m counting on You to show up and show me what I’ve got and how You want me to use it.  And BTW I’m not the sharpest crayon in the box so please make it clear.”

And maybe your flour and oil and what God wants to do with it has nothing to do with your “official” day job.

Now it’s a year later and you know what?  I still don’t have a “real” job.  I don’t have a job title and I fumble and mumble when people ask what I do.  I just have a little flour and oil but God makes that enough.  Everyday.

Only God could come up with a crazy job description of kingdom capers that may  include launching a cakes for kids ministry at an inner-city tutoring center, helping create a live nativity, and being part of a movement to stop human trafficking among other things.  But that’s what He seems to be doing with His flour and oil plan.

You don’t need a snazzy title to define you or make you ok.  You don’t need power or applause or clarity (although all of those are really nice and tempting to hold onto!)  Part of the excitement of the journey is watching God take our ordinary selves and make something extraordinary that could only be Him at work.

God takes what we have and makes it more.  More than enough.

In what ways has God surprised you with what He can do with your “flour and oil”?

6 Comments

  1. Really identified with this post Laura, thanks so much. In preparation for a Bible Study tonight, I had the assignment of finding an object to describe my “Frontline”. Exactly because I too, “mumble and jumble” and don’t have anything specific or high profile in terms of work right now, I was at a total loss. But you gave me the object lesson I needed – flour & oil!
    I don’t tell you often enough how much I enjoy your blog. Your ‘flour and oil’ are a huge blessing to me and many others I’m sure. I hope we meet someday at a WV event! Cheers, Joanne

  2. Thank you for this entry in your blog. It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I am an RN, not currently working because of some family issues (doing hospice for my mother) and health issues for me during the past few years. I hate it when people ask me what I “do”…what is my job title? I so badly have wanted to be able to tell them what I “do”, what my job title is, currently. “Being an RN” is such a neat little package to tell people. I am trying to listen for what God has me to be involved in now that I am feeling better. The last two weeks I have picked tomatoes at church on Tuesday evenings for the local food shelf. Tonight I am going to knit with a group of women from the Naomi House. Flour and oil. Thank you again, Laura!

  3. Thank you Laura for a year of helping all of us see God in our daily lives as we go about our daily routines. God is using you to touch so many of us that need a nudge, a reminder of how blessed we are, comfort in knowing that we aren’t the only ones disappointed/angry at God.,This is a wonderful journey full of ups and downs and God is there at all times.

    • Thank you so, so much for your kind, encouraging words Laura. The process of writing this is such a tool of God in my own life. I truly pray that He might use the words to reassure all of us of His care and involvement in our lives.

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