By Juwana Jackson
Have you ever had the desire to positively impact a person, your community or the world but then second-guessed yourself? Did you get discouraged after considering your meager salary, limited skills or lack of support? Well, in 2006, I found myself in that very place. I had frequently made donations and volunteered at local charities, yet I still had a strong desire to do more. I wanted to make a lasting impact in someone’s life.
Unfortunately, after I considered my limitations, I became discouraged. Who was I kidding? I did not have a large bank account, access to significant resources or relationships with influential people. I prayed for more resources but my circumstances did not change. Instead, my longing to do more intensified. Then, I had my Aha moment! I was a single woman living in a four-bedroom house. I did not need more resources; I needed to use what I already had. A few months later, after serious contemplation and wise counsel, I invited a homeless woman and her children to move in with me. They gladly accepted. The experience was life-affirming for all of us. So, although you may not have extra space in your home, it’s likely that you do have something to contribute that could make a huge difference in your life or the life of someone you know.
Let’s look at a few reasons why you might be overlooking the resources you already have:
1. We overlook what we already have because we try to control the circumstances and outcomes. (Perfectionism). If you have been waiting for everything to line up according to how you think they should be, it is time for self-examination. Before I had my Aha moment, I had decided that I needed more resources. When my prayers were unanswered, I claimed that I was waiting on God. The truth was that God was waiting on me to relinquish control and stop making excuses.
2. We overlook what we already have because we dislike the thought of being uncomfortable. (Self-centeredness). I do not know anyone who enjoys discomfort and inconvenience. Sometimes using what we already have requires us to make adjustments. In my situation, I needed to learn to live with roommates. Your situation might require you to do your own manicures or cutback on Starbucks so you can free up money to save for that business venture you’ve been dreaming of.
3. We overlook what we already have because we make comparisons. (Envy). Few things can cause us to feel inadequate faster than comparing ourselves and our circumstances to someone else’s. In 2006 when I thought about the people I knew who were excelling in their life’s mission, I felt like a failure. I felt like a disappointment to God. I had to finally realize that what I already had (to begin with) was intentionally different.