May 1, 2019 by Katy Epling
Not long ago, my entire family came down with a stomach bug. My entire family. All five of us. What a vision: four of us sprawled out on various couches and chairs, covered in blankets, watching 1990s family movies, offering each other millions of non-existent dollars to go upstairs for crackers or ginger ale or to please, for the LOVE, make sure Joey isn’t tearing down the house! Because Joey’s energy level, as it turns out, cannot be deterred by a little virus. No, sir. He wanted to play.
But I digress.
For two days, my stomach churned at the thought of the chicken enchiladas I had so carefully crafted on Friday night. In fact, nothing in my fridge or pantry seemed edible. Except for one small thing. My comfort food: Lipton’s Cup o’ Soup.
Since I was a little girl, this small serving of chicken broth and tiny noodles has made me feel… well, better. Like I’m home. Like it’s all going to be OK. So I grabbed an envelope and my favorite mug—a Christmas gift with a reference to one of my favorite TV shows. I was prepared to feel comforted.
But instead, I found myself with a little dilemma: my favorite mug was too big. If I put in the right amount of water for the soup, the cup was barely half-full. It looked pathetic. If I added water to fill the mug, my soup was watery and bland. In my sick (and, of course, possibly dying) state, this seemed like a predicament of epic proportions!
It took a little searching and most of my available energy, but I finally found the perfect mug. It’s actually one my husband bought me a few years ago from a writer-y store that says, “Eat. Sleep. Write. Repeat.” I like the mug and love the sentimentality of it, but I hadn’t used it much since getting my new favorite at Christmas.
But this particular weekend, I needed it. I needed something with just the right capacity. Not so big that my meager meal seemed pitiful. Not so small that I had no room left for crackers (an essential part of the Cup o’ Soup experience). My writer mug was the perfect fit for the job.
I didn’t get mad at my other mug. I didn’t demand that it morph into something smaller. I use that mug on a daily basis, and it’s the perfect size for a cup of tea to accompany me while I write.
I have a variety of coffee and tea cups. I enjoy each one. Some are beautiful, some remind me of special people, some of special memories. Each one has a unique look, a unique capacity, and a unique purpose.
Does that sound familiar? It should, because it is true of you, too. You were created just as you are, on purpose and for a purpose. You don’t need to look like anyone else—the world already has one of her, it needs one of you. You don’t need to have the same capacity as anyone else—let them serve their purpose and you serve yours.
Sometimes we find ourselves unfulfilled because we are longing for more. Maybe you are serving in ways that still leave you feeling unsatisfied. Maybe you are going through the motions, but your service comes across as watered down and a little blah because your heart’s just not in it.
Or maybe your cup is overflowing—in a bad way! Maybe you are inundated with responsibilities that are either too numerous or just not the right fit. You might need a little less, or you might just need to think about your gifts and do something different.
The key is to serve your purpose. Don’t get so caught up in what your gifts aren’t that you forget what your gifts are. Identify them, use them. And get ready to thrive.