Julia T. Williams | Message in a Jar of Coconut Oil
Julia T. Williams is a storyteller on a mission to help better lives through storytelling. She writes about all the things that go wrong and how people fight to make them right. Telling stories that matter while helping others cultivate theirs.
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Aug 15 2016

Message in a Jar of Coconut Oil

There I was struggling to open a jar of coconut oil. I’d slapped on the bottom of the jar in hopes to loosen the suction; no such luck. I’d 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 in 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 loosening of the lid’s grip from the jar.

Maybe I don’t need strength to open the jar but wisdom how to open it.

I sat the jar back down, stared at it, refused to be defeated. I stepped back as the thought hit me, maybe I don’t need strength to open the jar but wisdom on how to open it. Yeah, that was it.

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.  1. 2. 3… Turn. Barely did I give it a good twist when the lid simply popped off. My body relaxed as if it had been called for a war it wasn’t even needed to fight.

Well, I’ll be. 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 use ourselves to the level of “burnt out”? We use  our intellect, our strength, our 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–less money–had we only taken a minute to fully 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.

Blues Notes: Take a moment to breathe and look above your problem not at it, and ask for the right tools to incorporate. You’ll find that it’s not so hard to overcome after all.

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  • whoah this weblog is wonderful i love studying your posts. Stay up the great work! You know, many individuals are searching round for this info, you can aid them greatly. gfceckgdbkkkdebf

    December 19, 2016 at 5:24 am
  • Oh my gosh…I just went through the jar struggle with my Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil approximately 10 minutes ago. Interestingly, I did not pray over it at all but decided that I was going to purchase my coconut oil from Whole Foods from now on since I never have a problem opening theirs. (I said ‘interestingly’ because I find that I tend to struggle with things myself for a while before asking God to intervene although He wants us to give it all to Him).

    I love how you used your experience as a lesson to share with your readers.

    August 16, 2016 at 12:13 pm
    • Yes, that is interesting. I usually don’t have any trouble opening Trader Joe’s coconut oil jars and thought maybe it happened this time because I had left it out in the heat after purchasing, so when it had time to solidify, it ended up sticking to the lid. Who knows, but it is something that you’ve found that to be a habit with their jars. I really wanted that jar open and praying for strength seemed like the right action to take. The experience helped open my eyes.

      Thanks for your comment, Rachel!

      August 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm
  • Great inspiring and well written post! A reminder to be more clear and specific on what you need, and ask for it with the patience to wait, before wasting valuable resources.

    August 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm
    • Thank you for your response, Barbara! It’s amazing the big messages we are given out of small tasks. Life is too short to waste by not giving to the lessons our moments try to show us.

      August 15, 2016 at 2:51 pm

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