Happy New Year!
Another new year and opportunity for new beginnings and fresh starts. Welcome to Simply Grace, one of my new opportunities. A few of you will be aware of my first attempt with my Simply Grace blog back in 2015 which was less than successful. I’m not sure I would call it a complete failure, but it was a bit of a failure. Failure is part of what this particular blog is about. WAIT, before you decide this is a downer blog keep reading. I think it’s safe to say that we all suffer with a fear of failure. Some of us manage it better than others, or have perhaps made more progress than some, but it is a human condition. It is certainly a fear I continue to battle. That and the fear of what people think have had way to much of a hold and impact on my life.
Do you make new year’s resolutions? If not is it because you believe you’re setting yourself up for failure? I was in that camp until maybe a year or so ago. I was more of a reactive person than a proactive person. Rather than setting goals and coming up with a flexible plan to meet those goals, I took each day as it came and handled whatever came up. This year however is going to be different. I bought myself a cute little pink day planner that says, “She’s got plans” on the cover and I most definitely have some plans! Less reaction and more pro-action in 2018.
I turned 50 in 2017 which I can’t hardly believe, but it’s true. It’s not all bad IF you don’t include menopause with the hot flashes, memory challenges, and such. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 28 years and that chapter in my life has ended. Our youngest left for college in August and I now have a lot more time on my hands. I have had a call on my life for ministry but just wasn’t sure exactly how, when, and what it would look like. On December 28 I was journaling my prayer and God led me to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-29 and I knew it would be in my first blog post.
I’ll paraphrase the parable but certainly encourage you to read it.
This parable starts with a man preparing to go on a journey. He calls his servants together before he leaves to prepare them for the time he will be away. He gives his most trusted servant five bags of talents (money), two bags to another, and one bag to the last divided according to their abilities. He instructs the servants to invest the money while he is away. The first two servants immediately began working to increase what they had been given. The third one dug a hole and buried his bag in the ground for safe keeping. When the man returned from his trip, he called his servants together once again to give an account for how they had invested the money. The first two servants reported that they had both doubled the amount they were given, and were subsequently given even more as a reward for their efforts. The third servant explained that he had buried the money out of fear, but had at least kept it safe.
The Message version of verse 26 says, “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.”
Unfortunately I identify more with the last servant than I want to, however not so much with money as with my life in general. I’m not a huge risk taker and I tend to play it safe. This parable isn’t just about money, it is also about the gifts and talents God has given each of us to use, to live out our God given purpose. I have enjoyed more than anything in this world being a stay at home mom. It was my dream and it has been a gift I wouldn’t trade for anything. God has been so incredibly gracious to me, so much more than I could deserve in 10,000 life times. Over the years of being home with my kids, He has prepared me for this time in my life to step out and risk.
I love to write and I’ve discovered it’s a gift God has given me to use. A few years ago he communicated to me that it was a gift to be shared rather than kept to myself. I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself out there like that. Writing is safe but not if I share it! That requires vulnerability which takes away the safety. What if it’s not good? What if it doesn’t help anyone? What if everyone thinks it’s terrible? What if it’s a complete failure?
I have failed and I will continue to fail, but failure has been a teacher. Failure IS a teacher and it is part of the process of growth. As long as we are willing to learn from our mistakes and our failures, they are no longer failures but stepping stones. I have tried to hide over the years rather than risking failure and rejection. Playing it safe. It seemed like a good idea but safety and comfort lead to emptiness, boredom, and lack of purpose. I came across this quote which seems very appropriate:
What is it God has given you to share with the world? The gift of hospitality, decorating, cooking, art, music, empathy, motivation, generosity...whatever it is, I challenge you to make the choice to take a chance so things will change for the better in 2018!