Without realizing it, I had slowly become a coward. This week, God invited me to step out of that hiding place and really live again.
Ever since I burned out at the end of 2007, I somewhat unconsciously swung from go-with-a-gusto approach to life to self-protection mode. (Visit here for my blog dedicated to my burnout experience.) I think it’s natural and understandable that I reacted to feeling utterly depleted and spent from life by being careful with how I used my time and energy. But I was gently shown this week that the pendulum had swung to the other extreme. I had, in a way, over-corrected.
Out of the blue one day, the parable of the talents came to mind (Matthew 25:14-30). As I reflected on the three servants, the amounts they were each entrusted with and what they did with what they got, I felt like I identified most with the last servant. The one who got the least. Although I’ve been given much in many aspects of life, I often feel like when it comes to energy, I have very little. My activities each day often feel quite restricted because of the limited energy I have. So as I thought about the third servant, I could empathize with him. “I have so little to work with, what’s the point?” I could hear him thinking. “If I had more, like this other person, I could do more.”
I suspected God might have something for me in this story so I sat down to re-read the parable. I was surprised by what I found. I hadn’t read this parable in The Message version before and I recognized myself when I read the master’s words to the third servant, “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! …Take the thousand [dollars] and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb” (Matthew 25:26-30). God was inviting me to take a risk. To use whatever amount I was given (even if it was small), and to invest it rather than hide it.
I remember my counselor had told me that one of the effects of burnout was that a person loses self-confidence. I had thought I’d moved past it already. But now, I saw that my belief in my capabilities was still wounded. I realized that I had been believing a lie that I didn’t have what it took to take care of my daughter. I hesitated to let Tim go back to work because I thought I couldn’t handle it. But here, God was saying, “What you have is enough. Trust me with it. Be brave!” And so my healing journey continues.
What about you? What do you feel like you have a small amount of that God might be inviting you to take a risk with?
Brave – by Nichole Nordeman (my favourite music artist)
“But if You believe in me,
that changes everything.”