When you want to give up and give in, sometimes you just need a little encouragement to keep going. Because giving in may not be an option.
The point of giving in
Last night—lying in bed and trying to calm myself to sleep—I felt surges of burdening weight drive over me. For years I’d tried thing after thing and quit them, or never saw any fruit from anything I did. Others succeed when I don’t and then I try what they do. And nothing. Then it all comes back: the feelings of inadequacy, all the times I let the ball drop, all the times I let my friends down, all the times I moved on from my people.
Broken pieces of my life like torn papers in a circle around me—I wanted to give it all up. I was willing to freely give God all that I had and forget everything—even though the everything wasn’t very much.
But he came through very clearly. “No. You need to finish this. You want all these big things, the lives that other people have. That is not for you. I have given you everything you need right now in this moment and the people you are to serve. Tend to what you have right now before you even think about the next step. That next step is at a time when only I know. When you have served what and who I have given you well, that is when you move.”
The Talents We Get
Every metaphor, every analogy, and I’m always coming back to the parable of the talents in Matthew 15. The master, before he leaves, gives three servants different amounts of money. The first, who has five talents, immediately went and doubled his amount through trading. The second, with two talents, also doubled what his boss gave him. The third took his one talent and buried it. When their master returned, he was pleased with the first two servants, but took the one talent away from the third for squandering his gift and gave it to the first servant.
I still don’t know why this master gave money to his servants in the first place. Not because I believe servants back then were akin to modern-day slaves and didn’t get any rights. But was he doing an experiment? Was he looking to promote one of them and this is how he did it? Was this the ancient way of investing?
Every time someone preaches on it or I read or think about it, I always come up short against the first two servants. Not once have I related to them. In fact, I feel even worse than the third. At least he buried it. I think I would have spent it. I feel like I squander my resources or my people or my gifts, and every time God says “okay, here is one more chance.”
Yes, it’s true that today I’m writing out of the desert, and maybe I should save these words when I’m experiencing this “abundant life” in my emotions as well as in facts. But we just easily get torn down and worn down, amen? It’s funny, back to the stories about comparing myself to other people, I always guffaw a little when people of influence talk about “their real lives.”
You know what I mean. It’s now vogue to share our realness, our pajama-ed selves without makeup on Instagram and talk about our unmade beds or the recent dark season we just walked through—details always spared, of course—and say “I’m just like you.” Well, influencers, you’re not just like me. You have the life I’m been working hard to get for the past five years—I haven’t been doing it well, I’ll admit—but you’re able to do what you love without it being a burden to your family, and I don’t think I’ll ever get there.
So while I appreciate their message, I get so wrapped up in what I don’t have that I miss what they try to share with me. I miss the connection, even if it’s over the Internet.
How often do we create a larger learning curve when we don’t stay in our lane, and work with what we’re given, doing it well until it’s done? The Lord has something specific he wants to give each of us, but he can’t when we’re flitting around, crying about our lack of shiplap, not standing still long enough for him to connect with us.
Maybe, for once, I should try investing in the things and people he has given me today.