Writing is hard. I mean, I knew this. Before now. I have known this. But lately, I have come to know it on a new level.
Five years ago, I felt called to write. I know that when I say “called” some of you may not understand. If I say “God told me to write,” some of you will be left even more confused. God did not float down on a fluffy cloud surrounded by piercing white light. He did not handwrite me a note that said, “Stefanie, I command you to write.” It was nowhere near as blatant as that, but over the last few years it has become more apparent. So much so, that dodging and ducking it has become quite exhausting.
For five years, I have tried to get out of this. FIVE YEARS. I have slammed my own doors. I have closed windows and nailed them shut. I have told God I don’t want this. This gift, this mediocre talent He has given me. I don’t want it. He can have it back. Give it to someone more brave. Someone who wants to be heard and seen. I have begged for an easier task.
I cannot tell you how many times in the past five years that I have heard the Parable of the Talents. Close to a gazillion. Every time, I cross my arms over my chest and do my best NOT to listen. I take note of the pastor’s shoes. I doodle on a piece of paper. I create a grocery list. I wonder why no one has invented dill pickle-flavored vodka. Meanwhile, I have God flicking the back of my head, telling me to pay attention. “Listen up, Stef. This is you. You’re the scared servant, burying his talent in the ground.”
I go about my life. I bury that talent He has given me. I put it deep under. I pile working out, taking care of my kids, doing laundry, cleaning constantly, hanging out with friends, serving at church, and serving my neighbors on top of it. Eventually, I bury it so deep I forget about it.
Then I wake up to an alert on my phone, reminding me I am behind on a bible reading plan I had started two months ago. I try to delete the reminder with the intentions of rolling over and going back to bed. Only, I am clumsy. I somehow end up reading the devotional. The devotional that was conveniently about stewardship and calling.
“Do you feel free to pursue your individual calling?” it asks me.
C’mon, God. I just wanted to sleep 10 more minutes. I have a super busy day and three more busy days after that. I just want to sleep.
“Read Matthew 25:14-30,” the devotional continued.
Nope. I know those verses. Nope. Stop with the metaphorical flicking of the back of my head. I have garage sale stuff to tend to. NO.
I have fashioned a very crafty way of ignoring what I feel called to do. I ignore it. I place other things in its way.
Last weekend, my husband and I were at Pump It Up. For weeks we had trash-talked about running the inflatable obstacle course, each of us claiming we could beat the other in a race. As we each took our race stance at the starting line, I thought about how much cardio I do versus how little he does. I knew I had it in the bag. I just knew it.
As soon as we heard “Go!”, we pummeled through the entrance. The moment I crossed through the first obstacle, my husband speared me right in the ribs, knocking my game face right off. I was so pissed about this that I spent the rest of the race fuming and calling him a cheater. (You cheated, Ben. I know it and God knows it.) He took his freshly shaven head and rammed it straight into my ribs, and as a result, I got hair burn on the inside of my arm. I lost my footing on the climbing wall and I worried about my glasses flying off of my face. He intentionally injured me in order to win. With each hurdle, I dwelled on his cheating ways, and as a result I fell farther and farther behind.
I let him distract me. Whether he did it on purpose or not (he did it on purpose), is irrelevant. He had my attention. No longer was I focused on dominating each hurdle. I could see only the distraction. His massive, bald head going into my rib cage. It played on repeat in my mind, and I saw red because of it. He had won before we even started.
This is where I find myself day after day, week after week. Distracted. Misled. Deluded. Misdirected. So much so that I can barely remember what it is I am supposed to do. Hence, the metaphorical head flicking.
God hasn’t given up. He knows I will be speared in the ribs over and over. He isn’t deterred. He continues to redirect me, pulling me back to Him. He wakes me up and reminds me that my talent is buried. He calls me to dig it up and use it even amidst the distractions of my daily life.
My kids are hungry and dirty and still in their pajamas. The floors need mopping. I haven’t worked out. I ate a million mini Snickers for breakfast. I was supposed to leave for the grocery store an hour ago.
But here I am, digging up my talent.
I don’t know that I have the skills to use it properly, but I can brush off the dirt and try.