As we approach the beginning of a new year, the default mode for most of us, myself included, is to draw up plans for the coming year. Many of us have fallen away from those plans in the past, myself included. This year, I've decided to keep it simple, making one resolution and only one for 2014: To use what I have.
The idea came to me when I thought about how I had organized my pantry and, to my detriment, had to throw out a lot of food that had expired. I wasted a lot of food out of sheer disorganization. I could have fed myself, BMNB, and a whole host of others if I had donated the food before it expired. I decided going forward to use what I have -- to look in my pantry before making grocery lists or find recipes using what I already have.
The idea of using what you have applies to more than food in your pantry. Many times I think that if I buy this or that new gadget (Zumba DVD) or pay money for something I already have (a gym membership near my new job despite the fact that my neighborhood clubhouse has a well-equipped gym I already pay for with HOA fees), that I'm more likely to use those things. Tell that to the 7-part Gaiam Yoga series tape (yes, I have a DVD player that also plays VHS tapes) and the more than 60 workout tapes and DVDs I have, not counting the elliptical machine, aerobic step, Windsor Pilates strap, dumb bells, two inflatable exercise balls, yoga blocks and countless yoga mats I already have. If I merely used what I have (I have enough exercise DVDs and videos to do a different one every day for two months), I would have already reached my fitness and weight loss goals.
Just as the food was always in my pantry and the exercise equipment always in my house, what I need to accomplish whatever it is I set my mind to, I already have. I simply have to use it.
Using what I have isn't just about accomplishing things; it's also about the joy that comes from using the gifts that God gave me. If I had to describe myself, I would describe myself as a creator. I like creating things, whether through writing, crocheting, cooking, decorating, starting a business, brainstorming with friends or leading. I like figuring out what I need to do to make something out of nothing other than an idea and then doing it. And I'm pretty good at these things and enjoy doing them.
When you think of it, why would God give you a gift if he didn't want you to use it? And what a joy we get from using those gifts! I recently saw a video on Facebook in which the narrator said that the richest place in the world was the cemetery because it was full of all the unused talents and dreams that people had taken with them to the grave. The video exhorted us to, like a car driving a fumes, "end our lives on E," having used up all the gifts and dreams God gave us. Word.
My wish for all of you dear readers and myself is that we use the gifts God has given us. . . as well as all those Billy Blank Tae-Bo VHS tapes and hidden cans of salsa in the pantry.
Happy New Year!