This has been an incredible winter in North Carolina. Its been distinctively different from the past 20 years I’ve called this state my home. I grew up in Chicago, and was accustomed to harsh winters. My escape to the southern way of life was a welcomed change from my history. However, I found the last four months on my social media timeline have mirrored those of my friends back at home in the Windy City. Its as if the south doesn’t understand its pathology!
I’ve resisted purchasing the accoutrements that accompany winter weather in protest. I’ve attempted (and haven’t been as successful) to pair clothing together to make do. I refused to go out and purchase gear for something in my mind that I didn’t want to persist. Case in point, boots. I have boots with heels. You know cute boots. Boots that add flare to an ensemble. Growing up, boots for me were not purchased for fashion, but instead function. At any rate, cute boots with heels don’t function well on ice. Therefore, I’ve had one pair that I’ve worn relentlessly. They are flat, somewhat cute, but more importantly practical for the weather at hand.
Two nights ago, the weather forecast began calling for snow. Its the end of March!!!! I went into my closet looking for a long sleeve turtleneck. Upon closer examination, in addition to the turtleneck, I found a pair of black boots. They were flat, furry inside and when worn surpassed my knees. I’d forgotten that I purchased them in 2012 on a college visit with my daughter to Ohio. Those boots have sat in my closet, camouflaged by other items and unused for over two years! All the missed opportunities to use them, through serious inclement weather were being wasted on the floor of my closet, hiding, and not being used for its purpose. I wonder how many times we’ve missed opportunities, not realizing that we already have what we need to fulfill an assignment and ultimately, our purpose.
Often, our purpose is not as complicated as we make it out to be. God has deposited gifts, talents, knowledge and competencies inside of us for every situation that we are confronted with. We must clear through the clutter to find what we’ve already got. We go searching everywhere and to everyone outside of ourselves. We spend money and resources that might be directed toward enhancing that which we’ve already been granted. Often what we gravitate toward is not nearly as operational as what we already have in our possession.
God provides what we need before we need it. Just like those boots, even when the need was present, I already had the solution at my disposal. When my daughter was growing up and took ill, I didn’t immediately rush her to the emergency room. The thought of the co-pay alone makes me become patient number two. Instead, I did that which I knew. I checked her temperature, I surveyed the area for anything she may have digested, I considered her mood, the timeline to the change, and the analysis goes on. I took into account any medicine in our home to address her need. In other words, I checked for what I had in my repertoire to meet the need.
God expects the same with us. Before we go into a tailspin, he expects us to conduct a self-inventory and utilize what he has already provided. Before you run up that credit card, before you spend your savings, before you check with someone else outside of God, before you invite doubt to set in and establish itself in your life, check your closet. Let me take the liberty to slightly alter Joshua 1:3: “Wherever the soles of your feet (or boots) shall tread, he’s already given to you.” Get movin’!