When I met James L. Rubart at the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference last month, I never dreamed I’d quote a line from his book — which I’d never read — within five minutes of our conversation.
“You can’t read the label when you’re standing inside the bottle,” I said. “Some old guy said that a long time ago — I think it was Moses or Elijah.”
I was teasing James, because I’d actually heard him talk about this label/bottle idea on the podcast he does with Thomas Umstattd Jr. However, I hadn’t planned on quoting him —and I certainly didn’t intend to call him “some old guy”! (I’m still kicking myself for that one…I’m hoping his sense of humor kicked in and he forgave me for the silly joke).
But, I had no idea the phrase was actually in one of his books. So last night while reading James’ novel The Long Journey to Jake Palmer, I found myself surprised and delighted to learn more about what it really means to be inside the bottle.
You’re Standing Inside the Bottle
You can’t read the label when you’re standing inside the bottle…which means you can’t see how unique, creative, and special you are! You matter. Your presence makes a huge difference to the people you interact with every day.
“What is written on every single one of your bottles are words and phrases and truths more powerful than you can imagine,” says Jake Palmer in the novel. “If you knew what was written there, right there on your label, if you truly knew what other people think of you, if you truly knew the impact you have on them, you would be stunned.”
You’re inside your bottle, which means you can’t see the positive, powerful effect you’re having in this world.
“Here’s my suspicion: you’ve focused on your faults and mistakes and regrets for too many ages to count,” says Jake. “It’s time to start looking in another direction. Trust me, you’re not going to be able to follow the sun by staring at the night…turn your back on the darkness and walk toward the light.”
Learn How People See You
You see your weaknesses, warts and wobbles. Other people see you as a whole person — and they see you in a whole different light.
Do you want a glimpse of how others see you? Take these 4 steps…
- Share this article with someone you trust.
- Ask them to tell you one or two things about you, things that are written on your “label” that you may not know.
- Do the same for that person: tell them one or two things they may not know about themselves.
- Absorb what you learn about yourself. Really take it in. And, tell me what you learned – or re-learned – about yourself.
Don’t overthink this, my friend. It’s a life-giving activity that can help you Blossom…but if you stress and strain over it, you’re no longer Blossoming, are you?
And, don’t worry if you think the person “already knows” the thing you see on their label. I already know I’m an encourager, but I love to be reminded. It encourages me :-)
Take good care of yourself, for you are worth taking good care of.
With the love of Jesus,
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