Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feeling Useful

I remember talking to my grandma just a month or two after my grandpa passed away. Grandma had moved into a retirement home and I had called her to see how she was doing (she lived in another state.)  I had been very concerned about her.

I will not soon forget the excitement in her voice as she shared with me her excitement in the fact that she now had a “job” at the retirement home. When I inquired what it was, she proceeded to tell me that when she went downstairs for mealtime, she would grab the hand sanitizer and bring it to those who were unable to walk.  She would take the hand sanitizer to those in wheelchairs, walkers, etc and give them a chance to use it like the rest of the residents. That little “job” was so appreciated by the residents who she ministered to! She paid attention to a need that they had, when no one else had. She was welcomed and embraced for it.  In addition, she felt useful – and needed. Something that was crucial at this tender time of transition in her life.

We all need to feel useful. We all need to feel like we have something to give this world. The older you get, the more that need lives inside of us, I think. There is something so beneficial that happens when we pour ourselves out and minister to other people. Whether it’s by making a meal for a mom or family in need, driving someone somewhere, babysitting, answering the phone, delivering fresh vegetables from your garden – or administering hand sanitizer to those who can’t walk up and get it themselves….being able to fill a need in the lives of others somehow fills a huge need in ourselves, as well.

I think that is why it is so important that we teach our children very early on to give to others. This world is so focused on “me.” We need to focus on “them.” Our children need to understand, know, and feel what it’s like to impact someone else’s life in a positive way. They need to see how fulfilling it is to give of yourself and focus on a cause greater than yourself. It will give them something meaningful, long-lasting, and deep that they won’t be able to get any other way or by doing any other thing in life.

Our world has needs so great that it’s hard to count them. There are so many hurting, lost, lonely people out there. You may feel like you don’t have much to give – but to someone out there, you have a GREAT deal to give! You can give your time and your heart. You just have to look for the need and you’ll find it.

I’d encourage you if you’re feeling like you don’t matter much or that you are often overlooked in life, to instead focus outward instead of inward. Find ways to give of yourself to others. I bet you will find that value and love you are seeking in the process.

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