Better If Used By…

Better if used by

“Can you imagine making it all the way to the top of the ladder of success only to find your ladder has been propped up against the wrong building?” I heard a speaker give that analogy years ago and it sobered me. Primarily because I imagined climbing that ladder for years, even decades only to find it had been less than what God intended for me.

I finished graduate school with my Masters in Speech Communication Disorders in 1986. I wanted to start my own speech therapy practice. God was gracious and gave me the opportunity to do so. Over a decade or so I was blessed to work with amazing partners, staff, and patients. It was an incredible journey. But 12 years into it I had to ask if my ladder was propped up against the wrong building.

Years of infertility took a major turn when Doc and I were blessed with three babies in three years (biological and adopted). We counted our bountiful blessings each and everyday but it was usually through heavily lidded eyes that lacked sleep! Doc and I both thought we could maintain our 60 hour a week work schedules and still raise three babies. It didn’t take long to figure out somebodies ladder needed to shift!

Thus began the soul searching.

If I quit now would it make my previous years of education and practice a waste?

Oh how I wrestled with this question! Ultimately Doc and I prayerfully concluded that what we both wanted would mean I should sell my practice. He would work outside the home, I would work inside the home. It’s been over 10 years since we made that leap of faith and I didn’t even think of it until the other day.

I was cleaning out a kitchen cupboard. A part of the menial task was to check for expiration dates. Repeatedly I saw the phrase, “Better if used by…” After about the twelfth reading something inside clicked. I smiled to myself as I thought,

“It is so much better to be used by God!”

My last decade of life looks nothing like the decade prior but the scary shift made 10 years ago allowed me to be right where I believe God wanted me.

And it has been good.

Who of us wants to reach the end of this journey with regret? Who wants to look back and believe it was all a waste? None of us! But that leaves us with a massively important question. How do we know how God wants to use us?

Well at the risk of being incredibly annoying we’re going to save that for next week’s DoAhead Devo. This week, let’s just reflect on our current “ladder”. Where are we now? Do we have peace and a sense of fulfillment? Or are we restless and sensing there is something more?

“God, how do you want to use me?”

As we prepare our hearts to answer that question next week, may we pray the following prayer this week:

“God I want to be used by you. I need affirmation that I’m right where you want me to be. Grant me peace and a deep sense of well-being if my current ladder is right where it belongs. But if it’s not, stir a restlessness in me that only you can quell. I know that you have plans for me and I know those plans are good. And when I’m tempted to doubt that, pluck those lies from my head and heart. Enter my musings this week as I seek to affirm your will for my life.”

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jer, 29:11 NIV

See you next Monday when we’ll look at 5 key questions we should answer when we are trying to discern if what we are hearing is from God!

Your DoAhead Friend,


  1. Wow, Cindy!! THanks for sharing this. I was just reading that verse, which i have tatoo’d on my lower back as my life verse, and reminding myself that He IS in control and has plans for me that are good but WHAT are those and am I really heading in the right direction? Have I been vigilant in seeking HIM for those directions or have I been simply following the trail I “see” without relying on my “compass”! Thanks for bringing to my attention again the need for reflection and guidance. I love the prayer too!! it will definitely help this week!! 😉 blessings!!!

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