By Dana Mentink
Clergyman Howard Thurman once said, “Follow the grain in your own wood.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Figure out what you’re meant to do, what your gifts are, and everything will fall into place, right? But what if your wood is you know, a little warped? I’m pretty sure when God made me, He threw in an extra measure of klutziness. (I am capable of falling down with no provocation whatsoever.) As a child, I was legendary for running in the house and colliding smack dab with the doorknob. My father used to say, “You’ve got to stop running north while looking south.” I never did learn. This past weekend when I chaperoned a band trip, I tumbled head over teakettle into the aisle of the bus because I didn’t notice the step. Yep, that’s pretty embarrassing in front of a bunch of teens, I’ll tell you.
And about that scatterbrained quality? Oh I’ve been experiencing that unfortunate personality trait since I was a wee kid. I’ve been known to leave my cup of coffee in the closet and occasionally, VERY occasionally, mind you, misplace my children. (Please tell me, oh dear bloggers, that some of you might have experienced something similar? I am not the only one who accidentally put her cell phone in the charity donation box, am I?)
Since I’m in full disclosure mode, I should add one more teeny flaw in my wood. I am completely unable to sit still for long periods of time. A three and a half hour movie is torture! No matter what the occasion, my foot is tapping constantly. Watching my students complete their state testing while I stand there is like watching paint dry. I’m so excited when someone needs a sharpened pencil or a Kleenex that I practically sprint to their side.
So you see, my wood is…imperfect. I mean we’re talking warps, knotholes and splinters here. What is to be done about that? Try to remedy the flaws? Should I hold a book on my head and work on my graceful movements? Strap myself to the chair to ensure I sit still for a while? Double up on vitamins and Ginko Biloba? Nah. Those knots in the wood are what make me….me. Further, the imperfections equip me to do that thing He meant me to, things that perfect wood could not provide.
-My clumsiness? It gives me humility.
-That tendency to be scatterbrained? I must rely on other people for help and thus I have experienced such goodness and kindness it would take your breath away.
-Hyperactivity? My energy gives me stamina to be both a writer and a teacher, an encourager for both wee ones and adults.
Therefore, I’m going to follow that grain, as Howard Thurman says, and use my wacky wood to make whatever it is in this life that I was meant to make. How about you? What is that flaw or quirk in your life that God can use for His glory?
Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award winner and the recipient of a Holt Medallion. She is a national bestselling author of over thirty-five titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.