I spent some time today thinking about how I can best serve the people God has placed in my life. That beautiful list includes my family, the patients I see in my office and in the hospital, my friends (including those I see often to those I’ve only met online), and of course you, my blog-reading friends who allow me the grace to invade your email inbox a few times a month.
While checking my own emails, I ran across an invite from blogger Jeff Goins for a webinar. Wouldn’t you know it, the webinar was on this very topic! One of the key issues Jeff focused on was the need for every writer to clarify her message. This sounds so simple, but for someone like me who enjoys dabbling in a little of everything, it was a torturous process.
Regardless of the difficulty, this was a process worth the mental effort and one I allowed myself the room to work through. Instead of watching a movie or doing some other mind-numbing activity to start my weekend festivities, I spent Friday night searching my heart for what I’d say to someone if I knew I only had a few minutes left to live.
The core message that has captured my heart and radiates through all I do is this:
And so began my weekend of clarifying what you will find on my blog, in all my future books, and on my podcast. Yes, I know! I haven’t done the podcast in a very long time — but that’s about to change. Let me just be real with you about why I stopped doing them: I’m a bit of a goals-oriented, numbers-driven type gal and the number of people listening just wasn’t to my satisfaction.
Over the past few months, God has really gotten a hold of my heart on this issue — the issue of needing to feel validated by numbers, accolades, and awards. I love how gently He guides in matters of the heart and spirit. This most recent lesson came in the form of one man desperate for help.
His sentences came in short bursts as he rattled off his medical history. His anxiety was infectious. His fears tangible. He had been referred to me by a specialist who rarely sends me patients, but when he does I know why. As my medical colleague had confided to me years before, he only sent me people beyond his ability to help. In other words, those with whom extra grace would be required to listen carefully to what’s not said, read between the lines of a fake “I’m fine,” and openly confront whatever is found hiding in the dark. He only sends me the ones he feels are broken beyond repair.
I wish I could say I’ve always been mindful of the value of one. I have not. I’m fully aware of the value of every life. But when I think about writing a blog post, doing a podcast, or even writing a book, I often lose sight of the value of one. One seems too insignificant a number for the effort it takes to give of yourself. One seems too small to have worth. But what if that one is your child, your husband, your friend? Then the value of one has exponential worth. One becomes more than enough.
This is the mind shift I’ve had over the past months. Do it all for an audience of one. Then you are never disappointed and never disheartened by the numbers. Then every time you give of your gifts, you do so from a place of contentment and not a place of seeking fulfillment. You give from a place of soul rest. You give from the best of who you are. Not from perfection, but from your present truth.
This gentleman poured out all his difficult medical past. He shared his confusion, his fears, and his discontentment with his current health. He laid it all on the table, even as he lay himself down to be physically examined. Teaching, encouraging, and motivating take time. As I glanced at my watch, the still small voice inside me whispered “One is always worth the time.”
So there we sat, listening ear to an outpouring heart. What he needed was someone to explain the process from brokenness to wholeness. What he needed was someone to show him simple, practical steps he could walk out to get from point A to point B in his physical, emotional, and spiritual health. What he needed was someone to remind him that broken is not a destination, it’s just part of the journey to your best life.
Maybe you are in need of that same message. If so, you know where to find me.