I’d like to share a bit of our family Bible study with you. I’m hoping that there may be another person out there who reads this and says to themselves, ‘I needed this reminder.’ That was my reaction.
We were discussing the parable of the talents. If you’re familiar with this particular parable then, you have likely discussed it a few times as well. It is intriguing. I you are not familiar with it, you can read about it in Matthew 25.
As I read the familiar words to my children, I faltered a bit as I thought of my own handling of what God had put in my care and was surprised by the conviction I felt. Conviction. That’s a rather unpleasant sounding word when you first roll it around in your mind. But, contrary to first impression, conviction is a good and necessary experience.
Spiritually speaking and when tenderly delivered by the Holy Spirit, conviction means being made aware of needed change and that change, while not easy, will result in betterment. A better you, a better life, a better relationship, better as in for your best.
I asked my children what they thought the word ‘talents’ represented. Some replied money. Others mentioned abilities to sing or such. Then one commented that it was something of value. I think they were all right.
With those definitions in mind, think for a moment of what God has invested in you. What do you have at your disposal? Is it money? Time? Abilities? Skills? Gifts?
There may be a very few of you who don’t know or haven’t discovered yet what strengths or passions you possess. But, by in large, most of us do. We know because it’s an important part of us.
I could only guess at what your answers may be and I won’t attempt to do so with so many possibilities. Instead, I’m going to share my own. When I said I faltered as I read the parable to my children, it was at this verse.
“But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.” Matthew 25:18 NLT
I looked up from my reading and found the eyes of my children watching my reaction. There are times in parenting when we must make ourselves vulnerable so that our children can be strengthened. This, I believe, was one of those times.
I told my children that I believed that I was that servant who dug the hole and hid what they had been given. I explained further that although I had a passion for wordweaving and felt that God had gifted me with an ability to inspire others through the written word, like the servant, I was afraid.
I was afraid of failure. I was afraid of criticism. I was afraid of looking foolish. I was afraid of the opinions of others when it came to my writings. I was even afraid that someone may think too highly of me. That’s a lot of afraid.
I suppose it is because I write so close to my own heart. I write about my faith. I write about my family or families like mine. I write about foster care and adoption and racism. I write about broken families and broken children. I write and when I do I sometimes allow the reader a glimpse into the messiness of life as a mom of many.
I have taken a few steps out of the shadows of the forest of afraid. I’ve blogged here for over a year. I recently created a page on Facebook for my devotional writings. Now, I’m ready for more steps that will require more courage. I’m determined to proceed towards publication of several completed books that I’ve kept hidden away in a safe place for a long while. I’ve chosen self-publication for a variety of reasons and I’m admittedly afraid. But, I’m not going to bury my talents safely away. They may not best talents, the greatest of all talents nor the most successful of all publications. That’s ok. At least when my Father says to me, “Come here daughter and show me what you have done with what I have given you.”, I will be able to say, “Look how I tried! I gave it my best effort! I took a risk!” Instead of, “I was afraid”.