There I was struggling to open a jar of coconut oil. I’d slapped the bottom of the jar in hopes to loosen the suction with no such luck.
I had wrapped a semi-wet dish cloth around the lid for a tighter grip, and again resulted without a budge. I sat the jar on the counter and told it like The Terminator, “I’ll be back.” I needed to give my wrists a break.
I ventured around the house to take care of other things: remove the nail polish from my toes and fingernails, find the bag of peanut M&Ms that I requested to be hidden from me, and continue brewing my mug of tea of which I needed the coconut oil for.
As I returned to the jar, I asked God to give me the strength of Sampson. With the jar in my hand, I twisted and twisted, and again, I went without hearing the suction loosen.
Maybe I don’t need strength to open the jar but wisdom on how to open it, I’d thought.
I sat the jar back down, stared at it, refused to be defeated.
I stuck the lid portion of the jar under running hot water for a few seconds, then dried off the jar. I held the bottom of the jar with one hand and wrapped my other hand over the lid. My shoulders were tight, my legs were in a battle stance. My whole body was enlisted into the mission of opening the jar.
It was as if I looked at the lid and it popped right off. I barely turned it. My body relaxed, knowing it had been called for a battle not meant to fight.
I scooped two tablespoons into my simmered mug of tea and let the revelation marinate:
Sometimes we ask God for the wrong things.
It wasn’t strength that I needed to open the jar; I needed wisdom on how to open it. Had I asked for wisdom first, I would have alleviated the burden from my body by torturing my muscles into working when they didn’t need to.
God hears our prayers. He listens to our requests. He sees our struggles. When our prayers and requests go unanswered, it’s His way of getting us to see that we need to ask for something else, and sometimes something more.
What we think we need or want is small in comparison to what He wants to give us.
How often do we burn ourselves out by using the wrong tools, gifts, skills? Asking the wrong questions?
We use our intellect, strength, time, and patience for situations we don’t need for that moment. We enlist people and other resources when it’s something we could have done on our own with minimal effort or less money had we only taken a minute to assess the situation properly. We rush, we overlook, and often we overestimate, and as a result, we make mistakes and cause undue harm to everything and everyone else in the process.
Take a moment to breathe and look above your problem, not at it. Ask for the right tools to incorporate. You’ll find that it’s not so hard to achieve after all.