Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Word: Useful

Tonight at dinner, my family was discussing the fresh new year before us and what we wanted to add or change to our lives.  I told them about my One Word - useful - to which my sweet daughter replied,

"You are already useful to God."

She spoke truth to me, which flooded my heart and made a smile cross my lips.  I thanked her for the compliment, but I added this:

"There are many things that I do, though, that are not useful to God."

I wonder if that is the truth for all of us sometimes? Even things that look like they would be useful, productive, good, are not so much in God's eyes.  It's not because the act is bad, but because it is not the best place for our time, talent, or energy.

God knows that I've spent a lot of time spinning my wheels doing things that look like they would be good for me, only to find out that I could have actually been getting somewhere had I been paying attention to what He says is good for me.

(And maybe I can stop feeling guilty for never getting on Pinterest because it's just not useful for me??  Whenever I DO get on, I just end up sighing with envy.  Anyone else??)

My One Word was born out of this quote:
The birth of Christ in our souls is for a purpose beyond ourselves:  it is because his manifestation in the world must be through us.  Every Christian is, as it were, part of the dust-laden air which shall radiate the glowing epiphany of God, catch and reflect his golden Light.  Ye are the light of the world - but only because you are enkindled, made radiant by the one Light of the world.  And being kindled, we have got to get on with it, be useful.  ~ Evelyn Underhill
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{1} To be useful to God, to me, means to reflect His light and not my own.

{2}To be useful to God means to consult Him first prior to launching out with my own ideas.

{3}To be useful to God means to take care of myself.  There is a use for rest, for play, and for work.  (I often forget the first two.)

{4}To be useful to God keeps the big picture in the forefront of my mind.  This journey is about showing the love and way of Christ.  To forget that is to forget everything.

{5}To be useful is to continually be cultivated (my One Word from last year) by His Word and the Holy Spirit.  Without this relationship with God, my soil will cease to be enriched, fruit will not come forth, and I will be useless to His Kingdom.  (Now, I know there is a whole lot of grace and that God can redeem all things, including our mistakes.  I'm not being legalistic here.)

{5}To be useful means to allow, always, space for pruning shears.

I think that there will be many more ways that God shows me how "useful" will apply to life with Him.   I can't wait to see what your One Word is and how it plays out in your lives!

*A huge thank you to Melanie, who designed the Useful button.  You can link up your One Word post with her here.  You can also join the One Word community and link up here.

*Also, wanted to thank Kelly and Steph for inspiring me to put to words what "useful" might look like in the days ahead.

*One last thing...if you are new to this space, I would love for you to read about our little group of encouraging women called The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.  We'd love to welcome you into the fold!


  1. Hi Jen, great word. I love when God uses me, its humbling and awesome all at the same time. I think its a great word to focus on for the year. And I agree with your daughter. Be blessed

  2. excellent word!I'm grateful He uses you to teach, encourage, and to love those of us in blog land.

    Oh, and obviously that sweet daughter of yours is learning something from her Momma.

  3. oh, i love this word--it embraces so much about the whole self. and i see so many ways you're going to be surprised by your useful self this year. i can't wait to see if all unfold.


  4. Hi Jen!! What a beautiful and enlighting post!!! I love your word for the new year. My word is "appy" however I believe I can incorparate your word in as well!!! This post ministered to my heart today!! Thank you for a great word!!!


  5. Useful - I like it!! I would do good to pause and make sure more of my time is spent being more purposeful and useful, especially when it comes to Pinterest...and FB and twitter :) Good luck to you in the New Year!!!

  6. Just love it, Jen! I am really enjoying seeing how everyone is creating a mental image of how their word will play out this year. I am closing in on mine-excited to choose and move forward!

  7. Oh what a wonderful post and love the button. Please, Please, PLEASE hear my heart when I add:
    did it occur to you when you responded as you did to your daughter, you might have stolen her joy at giving you God's love and Word? A little verbal smack down...?
    Giving grace, intentional grace, is so difficult for me and, I think, for all of us. We get a compliment, in effect a word from God via one of His messengers, and we stumble, our words taking someone (down) to our level. We end up stealing their joy and discouraging us both.
    I'm not saying your words were wrong but I am saying they might have been untimely.
    We are all useful to Him in various ways and none of us can do, to the best of our God-given ability, the job of someone else. I've been on Pinterest, perhaps, three or four times but this page - - has been open on my desk top for months, since my last Pinterest visit. It speaks to my heart, greatly, and brings me comfort and joy. What a divine ministry Glenda Hancock has; one day, I hope to meet her the other side of the veil.

    1. I am going to go visit that Pinterest page! You know, I wonder if I should have said "thank you" and left it at that. I thought I was doing well to say "thank you" because I don't receive compliments well at all. I totally receive what you are saying here and I don't want to ever rob someone of that joy -- I have been on the receiving end of a conversation like that.

      Thank you for caring enough about me for calling me out with your wisdom and gentleness!!

    2. You're welcome and thank you for understanding what I was trying to say.
      God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

  8. I like that, Jennifer. Good word... I also love that you have clearly demonstrated usefulness to your daughter.

  9. Just "awesome" and useful your words here, Jen...Thank you...P.S. I am not on Pinterest any more...just joined FB end of Nov...hope you know you aren't the only one :) Got to go with what works for you, I am learning :)

  10. I love this - being useful. Beautiful. And I love how you broke it down!

  11. Thank you for sharing the Evelyn Underhill quote. She. You. Express my heart and my desire to purposely radiate the light of God. To be Useful.
    So glad that I was led to find heaven here; such {useful} fulfillment of time!


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