“We feel most alive when we are connecting with others and telling our stories.” ~Brené Brown, Rising Strong
I so strongly believe that nothing in this life is meant to end on us. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the epitome of a hot mess. I hope, if you’ve been following me for any length of time at all, you’ve caught on to this.
We live in a society where the expectation is to keep everything but small talk, private and to ourselves – unless, of course, we’ve found our fifteen minutes of fame on Jerry Springer. (Please, no.) The average American comes home from work, pulls in their garage and shuts the door behind them without so much as acknowledging they have neighbors. I know I have been very guilty of this many times.
And while I don’t think we necessarily need to make ourselves an open book to the entire world, I think we do need to embrace the value of vulnerability. Of sharing the messy so others can be encouraged and know they are not alone. There is a fine line between completely closing ourselves off to others and removing any semblance of a social filter. But in the balance is where so much freedom happens.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a young woman, because of a mutual friend who knew we shared a similar story and cared enough to throw us together. Though we had hardly ever met, because of our commonality in the Lord and our painful past, hers more recent than mine, we were able to go deep very quickly and get to both beautiful and hard truths. She walked away encouraged. And I walked away feeling blessed that God had allowed me to bless her with the difficult story He chose to write into my life.
But what if I had decided to keep my story to myself? What if I had ignored her pain by simply painting over it with Scripture verses and pleasantries?
What if I had not shown up?
In Genesis 12:2, God promises Abram, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” (Emphasis mine) God didn’t care to make Abram great because He thought he was awesome or bless Him for his own good. Though Abram no doubt benefited from God’s blessings in his life. But God specifically tells him that He will bless him and make his name great SO THAT he will be a blessing to others.
Where is God blessing you?
God does bless us and gift us out of His love for us, but ultimately it is so that we can bless others. (1 Corinthians 12:7) On whom do your blessings need to spill? Where can you intentionally use your gifting, not for your own glory, but for discipleship and growth among others both in and outside of the church?
In Matthew 25 (verses 14-30), Jesus tells a parable of entrusting talents into the hands of three servants. Now, while a “talent” in this story is actually talking about a measure of money, I think it is as ironic word as we look at our own gifts and abilities. In fact, Jesus says the master assigns a certain number of talents to each of these three according to their ability. The first two use their entrusted talents to double what was given to them, but the last one just hides what he was given. That one is chastised by his master upon his return. He used his talent for nothing.
With what has God entrusted you?
Most of us can pretty easily identify our weaknesses, but if you need any guidance on discovering your strengths, and possibly where you would most flourish in serving and pouring out, I would highly recommend Jennie Allen’s book and study Restless. She helps you dig through both the good and bad of your past, as well as getting honest input from others to help you see your true God-given talents.
It’s not about being “happy” or “fulfilled,” as those are mirages we could spend our entire lives chasing never to actually obtain them (unless we’re finding them in Christ). It’s about using what God has given you with the people He’s given you. Pour yourself out to be truly filled. You are blessed to be a blessing. So what are you waiting for?
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