The desire for excellence, to be a part of a culture of excellence or contribute to something excellent is a longing deep inside many of us. We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, to bask in the results of our hard work and enjoy the accomplishments of what may have only been a dream at some point in our life.
However, in our pursuit of excellence, we are driven to gather the next best thing that would launch us into stardom; a staff member, a piece of software or latest piece of equipment. In our desperation to be relevant and culturally aware, we seek after things just outside our reach, believing that if only we obtain that _______ (fill in the blank), we would finally accomplish the goal lodging deep within side ourselves. We jealously look at those around us who seemingly have it all, wishing, craving and passionately praying that God will somehow open up the heavens of resources, releasing his merciful bounty, enabling us to finally acquire that, which those we seek after have worked to hard to obtain.
It’s okay. You’re not alone. Even those with the most toys look at others and want more.
But here’s the secret – excellence isn’t determined by the quality of resources you have, but by what you do with ones you do have.
I have learned that creativity and innovation is most often revealed by working within your limitations. Anyone can be creative with unlimited resources, but innovation only occurs when we embrace our box; our limitations.
I have to tell myself this all the time. Like you, I have to battle the jealousy inside of me, seeking more. Sure, most of the time it’s justifiable and the truth is it would help enhance the quality of what I (we) produce each weekend at our local church. But this inner dialogue also has the potential to hinder me from being innovative and creative with the resources God has given me and placed inside our reach.
Often in creative meetings you’ll hear someone say, “Let’s think outside the box”. I have said it many times – have you? It’s like by somehow positioning ourselves outside of the restrictions, boudaries and barriers, we are able to somehow solve our problems. The challenge with this type of thinking, however, it begins to bread a culture of “if only…then” or “when we…we will”.
It’s a culture of dissatisfaction and excuses.
What I’ve been challenged with lately is to not think outside the box, but rather to think within the box; to embrace my box; to own my box.
I have learned that when I am faithful with what God has given me; when I am diligent with the resources He has provided me and when I embrace the place He has called me – HE will expand my box! He will expand my resources, my volunteers, my influence, my leadership. This is the stewardship principle in action, Jesus speaks about in Luke 16.
I have learned that I can accomplish more when I embrace my box rather than fighting my box.
I have learned that there’s less pressure to perform or produce something I’ve seen from a distance (often self inflicted) when I embrace my box.
I have learned that I have greater value those things I do have when I embrace my box.
And I have learned that excellence isn’t restricted due to my lack, but is evidenced in my ability to fully embrace my box.
So here is my question to you; “Are you waiting for what you want or working with what you’ve got?”
Embrace your box.