As a kid I loved treasure hunts. I felt like Indiana Jones on one of his incredible adventures every time there was a treasure hunt. Using clues to find other clues that eventually led to a treasure was nothing short of exciting.
Clues were written in riddles to challenge our ability to think and work as a team. From one clue to another we came closer to the treasure. Close friendships were forged in treasure hunts. We learned how to deal with pressure and adversity at an early age.
Who would have known that something as fun as a treasure hunt would be a training ground for life. I learned critical thinking, problem solving, analysis of data, organizational skills, teamwork, goal setting, and leadership skills, as well as time management, and meeting deadlines. All that from a treasure hunt?
At the time I wasn’t thinking about life skills, my focus was fun. To be honest, my team didn’t always win the treasure hunt which hurt but deep inside we were always learning.
I thought treasure hunts were only for kids until I did an Internet search recently and discovered that adults do treasure hunts and there are places that you can pay to have a treasure hunt escapade set up.
Treasure hunts pushed and stretched my limits. They made me dig deep to bring out stuff that was in me that I never knew I had. What was fun as a child became useful for me as an adult.
Do you have a rubber band close by? If you do, let me invite you to do a test. This won’t be anything like Brain Games. It’s simple. From first look, the rubber band looks clumsy, small, and weak. Once it is stretched, it turns into a useful product to hold multiple objects together.
When the rubber band looked small and weak, it still had the ability to hold objects together. It just needed to be stretched. By stretching, its true capacity is discovered.
There are multiple times when I see myself as small, weak, ineffective, and not capable. We can become the biggest critics of ourselves. You might be looking at yourself this way but it’s time to stretch and dig to discover your real potential and capacity. It’s in there, within you.
I have seen people who were rejected and abused discover their gifts and develop into greatness and live significant lives. I have heard about people who were called useless, rise above that negativity, realize who they really are and live out a different story. I have read about people who have grown up in broken homes but have defied the odds and statistics to become great parents to their children.
Statistics or truth? I hesitate to use statistics because they are man-made and they change. At times they act like a gavel commuting people into a cycle with no hope of change. Please don’t get me wrong, statistics are important and helpful; they make us aware of what is happening around us but I prefer truth.
We may know what the statistics are but what we really need is the truth. Reading statistics can be discouraging and create hopelessness within us. Truth on the other hand, reminds us that the statistics are not permanent.
Statistics may say that you were born to fail, never succeed, repeat the same mistakes as your parents, never change, or are useless. The truth is you were created in the image and likeness of God and nothing can change that. The truth is you were created with purpose and destiny. God has deposited gifts in you that no statistic or situation can steal! (2 Corinthians 4:7)
We are all in search of hope. We are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. We want someone to come alongside us and tell us that there is more to life than this!
Hope is like fresh drinking water on a hot and humid day. Words of hope can ignite a passion for the future. They encourage us to keep pressing forward. They remind us that God can use broken vessels to do great things.
I understand there is a negative connotation with the term “being used.” We want to be useful but don’t want to be used by people. Being used by people is far different than being used by God. Being used by people can be draining and diminishing but being used by God is refreshing and replenishing.
When God uses you, He will also refill you more and more. His supply is unending. That’s why if God uses you in people’s lives and it seems like they are using you, remember that it is God Who is using you and you will always be full.
Being useful has to do with value. In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul talks about John Mark and refers to him as useful to him for ministry. Now what you may not know about John Mark is that he had a history with Paul.
Track this with me. Paul and Barnabas had a heated argument when Barnabas mentioned that they should take John Mark with them, but Paul was not ‘feeling’ John Mark because he had abandoned them and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13), (Acts 15:37-39).
It got so heated that Paul and Barnabas separated. How does someone who Paul was not willing to take in one season consider him useful in another? Did John Mark suddenly become useful? I don’t think so.
I believe his value and usefulness was always there it was just covered up by this one thing he did at one time maybe because he was afraid or because he realized the magnitude of the mission and didn’t think he could match up with Paul and Barnabas. His usefulness was always within.
I believe we are all useful and our value is deposited inside of us. It’s when we try to discover our value outside of us than deep within us, we end up comparing and competing with others. In the process we lose our uniqueness.
If you are reading this and you are broken, afflicted, in a mess, miserable, hopeless, here is the good news; God can still use you. He may not immediately remove the circumstances but He can work through that circumstance for His glory and for your good.
You may go through what you are going through, but God can still use your life to show you and others that He is greater than that situation. We all have “that thing” that we use as an excuse why we can’t be useful.
What God has deposited in you is far much greater than what you are dealing with now. I don’t want to lighten the situation that you are in, but when we don’t see God as greater than our situations, we will never see Him as our Source.
God created us with value. Put your name in there right now and speak this to yourself, “God created (put your name here) with value.
You may need to repeat this many more times to yourself because of all the voices you have heard telling you that you have no value. You may look and sound crazy saying it right now because of your current predicament but there is no better time than now, to start calling out who you really are.
Your voice might be shaking and you might feel funny talking about value when you feel hopeless but faith is about what’s present even though it’s not visible!
Written on September 13th, 2017
by: Waiyaki M. Waiyaki