Do you remember the show The Newlywed Game? Each couple would try to match each other’s answers to random questions. Well, if you ask my husband, Terry, “What is one thing Jill does that you think needs improvement?” his answer would most certainly be, “Make analogies.”
Terry thinks I overuse analogies, and yes, I admit it. Guilty as charged. But I cannot find a better story than the one below to describe how I felt five years ago when the journey of my business, Rustic Cuff, began.
Many years ago, there was a man named Noah. He was minding his own business, taking care of his family and playing a little tennis here and there (No, wait. That tennis part was me. I can see why Terry had some concerns. Let’s continue). Noah was enjoying life with family and friends when God instructed him to build the most massive boat anyone had ever seen or ever imagined. How could Noah not be worried? How could he, a mere man, take on such a colossal project? I can picture the thoughts going through his mind: What if I get seasick? What if I am allergic to some of the animals? But none of that mattered to Noah because he knew God had a plan and could be trusted with the whole enterprise.
So Noah obeyed God, carrying out every instruction without worry, working with one plank at a time. His faith would carry him through daily. Noah most likely had to remind himself quite often that he was not the captain of the ark, nor was the ark designed to be steered or even sailed. The ship would drift as God willed.
Here is where I draw an analogy. A few years after cleaning out my entire gift closet and swearing off regifting for life, I was in bed watching TV, and it was as if I were handed three things: a hammer, a bag of nails and two planks. A simple instruction was given: “Hammer the two planks together, and each day you will get one additional plank.” Of course I had some great arguments.
- I’m not a builder.
- I don’t know how to read a blueprint.
- I’m allergic to splinters.
But none of that mattered. This was an “ark” I would not have created on my own, nor would I have even come close to calling it an ark at this point. It seemed more like a canoe or a small sailboat. Additionally, no one dropped off a schematic or any kind of draft at my home.
Yet each day, without fail, I was handed another “plank”—each one varying in length and weight. Some days it was obvious as to where to insert a plank. Other days I would need to sit still while waiting to know where to put it.
The beauty of knowing this—and I mean really knowing this—was that I didn’t need to worry about tomorrow’s plank. I wasn’t concerned with my ability to lift it, where it should be placed or what its purpose was. The thing required was for me to focus on the direction for that day. I didn’t ponder whether it all made sense or worry about criticism regarding the look of my planks. Like Noah, I didn’t have a plan of my own.
I had one and only one responsibility: not to worry about my tomorrows. It was almost like an 11th commandment. What freedom to know that tomorrow is not my worry! Fretting over what may come can’t change the future any more than wishing or regretting can change the past. What’s more, living in yesterday or tomorrow robs us of the joy of today. It steals our peace.
One of the most requested cuffs in my business, one that is both gifted to others and kept, is the quote cuff engraved with “One day at a time.”
That saying can mean different things to different people. Just as Noah never imagined building the ark, I couldn’t imagine starting a company from scratch or even writing a book, for that matter. Both of us recognized the necessity of accepting instructions without seeing the full purpose behind the initial plan.
We don’t need to know what tomorrow holds; we simply need to know who holds tomorrow. The next time you find yourself living in the past or beyond today, remember you only live one day at a time—or if you are a fan of analogies, one plank at a time.
Adapted from The Kindness Effect by Jill Donovan, copyright 2018, published by Charisma House. This book will inspire you to follow God’s leading as you pursue your dreams. It will show you what will happen when you give generously to others and never give up. To order your copy, click on this link.
Prayer Power for the Week of Nov. 25, 2018
This week as you pray, embrace God’s purpose for you one day at a time, knowing He is totally trustworthy and you can rely on His direction to fulfill your God-given purpose. During this holiday season, remember those who are less fortunate and need your prayers and support. Remember those who have lost everything, including loved ones, through natural disasters (fire) and terrorism. Continue to pray for revival in our nation and around the world. Read: Jeremiah 33:3, Galatians 6:9-10.