I cannot get away from it. Ever since the New Year it has been swirling in my head and my spirit. And as if that wasn’t enough, it is everything I have read, heard, found in Scripture and song. So I’m guessing the Lord is trying to tell me something. Do you remember the parable of the talents from Matthew 25? It is everywhere, these 3 servants and their master are everywhere. The basic story goes a little like this: A businessman is going on a trip so he entrusts his 3 servants each with an amount of talents. To the first he gives 5, then 2, then only one. While he is away the servant with 5 talents invests them and earns 5 more. The servant with two also doubles his master’s money. But the servant with only one is fearful because he knows that the master is a “hard man.” He decided to hide his talent in the ground for safekeeping so that it would not be lost when the master returned. To each of the first servants the master made the proclamation “Well done good and faithful servant.” But to the last man he said, “You wicked and slothful servant,” and he gave the one dusty talent to the first servant who now had 10. Remember all of that?
I think it may be time for a confession… I am the fearful, “slothful” servant. This is what the Lord has been shouting to me from every place my eyes, ears, and heart lands lately. What are these talents in the story? They very well could be actual amounts of money. But certainly they are talents as well. Gifts. Opportunities given. Resources available. And I have been digging a big hole for a lot of years burying all of it, for “safe keeping,” out of fear. But lately I have been reading all about these women doing these amazing things out there. I wish I could tell you that when I read “Restless” by Jennie Allen or “Unstoppable” by Christine Caine, or “Interrupted” by Jen Hatmaker, or a dozen other books I felt inspired. I didn’t. I felt hopeless, pathetic, useless, stuck. All of that world changing, finding your calling stuff was great for them but what could I do? You see my hands were full with diapers, and dishes, and homework, and a heavy shovel I obviously needed for the big hole I was digging.
But then came Matthew 25 and these servants. And right on the cusp of all of it came a little vision I had from the Lord. Weekly, I have the pleasure of practicing hearing from the Holy Spirit in a safe circle of godly women who are practicing it too. We sit in quiet after inviting the Spirit to speak, and we just wait. Sometimes someone will get a word of encouragement for someone else, sometimes someone is reminded of a verse, or the lyrics of a song. Sometimes nothing. If I “hear” anything it is usually that I see it. I may get a faint picture of something, an ordinary object or scene that may have meaning… It may not. So a few weeks back, as I sat in silence in my friend’s living room, I saw very clearly this: There was a red carpet, like a movie premier. There were lights and a marquee but no people. In front of me (I suppose) was a white dove leading the way. So I took a step and began to follow. That is all. A red carpet and a white dove. Maybe the Holy Spirit is trying to lead me into something, maybe there is a role I am supposed to play.
For years I have convinced myself that my primary, AND ONLY, ministry is to my family. IN THIS SEASON what can I do but keep everyone alive? And this is true to an extent. I have a husband, 4 small children, 7 acres, loads of animal, long-division and Latin, and ballet, basketball, soccer, T-Ball, church activities, Bible studies, small groups, and have you seen the laundry? So, yes. There is all of that. But do you know what I am pretty good at by now? Feeding the children and the chickens and making sure the homework is finished and everyone has clean clothes. I can plan a meal and plan a schedule and send out a text about Bible Study before the sun rises. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard work, that I’m not tired and even overwhelmed sometimes, but none of that takes bravery or a whole lot of faith. In a sense, “I got this.” So about that big hole out back….
In her book “Breaking Busy” Alli Worthington says, “Finding your passions that lead to your purpose may feel difficult at times, but remember this: God is not keeping it a secret from you. He’s waiting for you to stop striving and set everything aside that is keeping you busy and distracted, then turn your attention to Him. In a living, daily relationship, He can then show you places you should go, people you should listen to, talents you should nourish, opportunities you should pursue, and passions and gifts He wants you to develop. Whatever your age or season of life, new adventures are waiting for you. Walking in your God-given destiny is the best kind of life you can possibly live.”
I have believed the lie for a lot of years that surely everyone has the same hidden dreams that I do and they would be a lot better at them than me. “See Lord, they have 5 talents!” But this isn’t the truth. I have amazing friends. One of them has started her own home-based catering business and is writing a cookbook. Do you know what that sounds like to me? A nightmare! But she is using her talents. Another friend of mine is learning all she can about alternative medicines to add to her RN and I believe she will have her own healing clinic soon. I have not been blessed with the gift of healing and neither do I have the education she does. I have another friend who has a beautiful voice but wrestled with The Lord for years over trying out for our large church’s worship team. Guess what? She bravely sings on stage every Sunday. Let’s just say that no matter how much faith I have, I will never lead anyone to worship with my singing voice! Another bought a consignment franchise to help support her family, another can’t pass a charity without taking over their fundraising. I could go on and on. The master meted out the talents differently.
Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Take a step. Follow the dove. Dig up the talent. Do you know what I still have? Kids, and dishes, and taxi duty, and laundry. Do you know what else? A small beginning.