Friday, September 18, 2009

Filling In the Gaps

It is my personal belief that we are all here to do several necessary things during our lifetime. Some people accomplish this relatively quickly while they are young, and other people spend their entire lives trying to figure it all out. It seems as though there are periods of great productivity followed by times where we wonder when the next assignment will come.

We build our careers, start our families, live our lives, and try to improve our lot. We find our gifts, talents, and passions somewhere along the way. If we are lucky, the process is relatively easy, we have support from others who believe in us, or are blessed with personal resolve. Somehow we figure out each decision...and through each peak and valley we learn, grow, mourn, or change into the people God intends for us to be.

It is extraordinary, isn't it?

One of the most important jobs we have, though, is to fill in the gaps for other people. What I mean is...there are skill sets that we have that allow us to earn a living. But, we have other gifts, talents, and abilities that we can share with other people to fill in the gaps. I have a decent handwriting...but I can't decorate. So, I'll do your wedding invitations...and you help me figure out how to dress my windows.

All of us are acquainted with many people because God designed it that way. In fact, this is in part what the concept of church is all about. Sometimes the people we have in our lives are our mission field...and other times, they are with us so that we can use the talents we have been blessed with to help them meet their purpose. Other people are sent to us to enrich our lives as well.

I'd heard the old adage that sometimes friends come for a reason...for a season...or for a lifetime. I happen to believe this. People that were in my life for a reason have often helped me unlock the answers to some of the big questions in my life, have set my feet on another path, or saw something in me that gave me information to get to the next step.

Other friends came into my life for a season...when I needed encouragement that was longer term, we shared a hobby, because we had children the same age, or because we worked together. Perhaps we were old schoolmates and by luck of birth and geography, we ended up knowing each other growing up.

And then there are friends that are friends for life. Those people that stay with us on a long term basis and are part of the fabric of who we are. My mother has a high school friend and a college friend that she still talks to and visits regularly. I love this.

But no matter which level of "friend" we are...we are called to fill in the gaps for other people. If we see a need, we are to try to find a way to fill it. If God impresses on our heart to send a card, a check, or a kind word...we should do that. We need to remember that our treasure is in heaven and that the best way to fill our coffers there is to be obedient here.

I find that the times that I have done something for someone else because God told me to step forward and I was trying to listen. Sometimes these might have been considered outrageous at face value. However, I found that often there was someone on the receiving end who had been praying for an answer, some encouragement, or something else that I had to offer. And while I might have blessed them...I found myself blessed in the process. Other times, there may not have been any indication that I heard the instructions correctly. But as long as I've remembered that it is not all about really doesn't matter either way.

On days when you feel overlooked, unloved, or even friendless...know that you may be missing the opportunity to fill in the gaps for someone else because you doubt your gifts, your motives, or how it will be received. And'll find that your efforts will indeed be overlooked, misinterpreted, or are received poorly. But in my experience...that has been the exception and not the rule.

Fill in the gaps. Love people and try to find those gifts that you have that you can use to bless others. We are all connected...and we can't take anything with us when we go. There's a whole lot out there that we can may just be why you are here. Later!

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