There’s still shampoo left in the bottle

A year or two ago I bought some amazing organic shampoo from my stylist. It was the same product she used in the salon, and I loved what it did for my hair! So optimistically, I shelled out the price for the lovely product and brought it home.

You know this part of the story: I used the shampoo and loved the smells, the feel. I loved the shine in my hair, even though I couldn’t quite make my hair do what my stylist could do. Great — expensive — shampoo.

On the second day I looked at my new shampoo and conditioner and thought “Wow…I paid a lot for that. Today I will use my regular stuff, and make sure I don’t run through the shampoo too fast.” So I did. And my hair looked pretty much the same…like my hair.

Fast forward a year or so. There I am standing in my shower reaching for my normal shampoo when I saw “The Expensive Shampoo.” By now those words were written in capital letters. I rarely used it. But this was an important day of some sort (can’t remember now), so I reached for my organic shampoo.

It had died. The cream had separated into components. The lovely organic ingredients didn’t smell happy anymore. In fact, it was such an icky experience just getting that stuff out of the bottle that I rinsed it down the drain and threw out the whole bottle. I hated watching that bottle go away. I had never even used it! All that potential was left to rot in the bottle.

Not long ago I bought some other, different expensive shampoo, this time recommended by my sister-in-law. And on that second or third day, when I was tempted to skip over the bottle in order to save it, I remembered my lesson. I remembered the nearly full bottles in the trash. Shampoo has only one purpose: to clean your hair. If you don’t use it, there’s no reason to keep it. I vowed to use every last drop of that expensive stuff, and so far I have.

Life is pretty much the same way, isn’t it? God gives us talents. He gives us creativity, insights, stamina, relationships, love. And he gives it all to us so that we will use it. But sometimes it’s easy to hold some back, to want to save for a rainy day. Like the Israelites trying to hoard daily manna, we don’t allow ourselves to be emptied.

We stay in the bottle.

Lately I’m trying to remember that my true life is outside the shampoo bottle. I don’t want to hold back what can’t be kept. I don’t want a container of moldy manna or ugly shampoo. I believe that God is able to refill that jar, able to refill me.

I believe it. Now it’s time to act on it.

So I guess today I raise my theoretical glass in a toast to those who venture outside the bottle with me!