I'm sure you've heard the old saying 'What do you want to do when you grow up?'. I know that is something I talk a lot about with my teenage daughter who will all-too-soon be graduating from high school and leaving the nest to make her way in this world. When I was little I had dreams. And they were big. I was going to be an actress, and a doctor, and a stunt woman (seriously) and even a missionary. I used to imagine all of the things I was going to do and the college I was going to go attend to receive my PHD of Missionary Doctor Actress Stunt Woman. I mean they could use one of those in Africa, right? Well, my life didn't exactly turn out that way and UCLA was not to be.
For the past several months I have been reflecting on where I am, and where I want to go, where I need to go and what exactly does God have for me. I have felt stuck in a rut. I realized that all of the dreams and gifts God has given me have been shoved to the side so that I can just get through the day as safely as possible. I've thought about what has kept me from attaining these dreams and using my gifts and what I need to do with reckless abandon to realize my dreams and put my gifts to use. So, at the lovely young age of 37, I asked myself "Self, what do you want to be when you grow up and how are you going to make it happen?".
I had never really thought about anything in my life as 'hidden treasures' until last week, when I came across two different posts that presented very different views on our 'hidden treasures'. The first post I read was by a blogger-friend who is a very spunky (and I think somewhat sarcastic - so I REALLY like her!) mother of three grown boys named Sherri. She challenged me to really look inside myself and see what I may be hiding from others, or at least think I'm hiding, that I can't hide from God. It's probably the fear, and pride and insecurity, or maybe the rebellion that creeps in when I want to do things my own way and not God's way. It's that little devil on my shoulder named 'Control Freak' that lies to me and tells me to take the reigns when things start getting sketchy instead of trusting that God is in complete control and I need to have the faith to believe that. It's something that I've been working to 'clean house' on the past few months, but thanks Sherri for putting that twist on it (that was kind of sneaky!).
The other day I was reading a portion of a book written by a lady who helped rescue a 'street kid' on a visit to Africa. Her name is Janine Maxwell and the book is It's Not Okay With Me. Janine's account of her trip to Zambia and the rescue of Kantwa is extremely compelling and I encourage you to visit her website and read the third chapter of her book. She describes how on her first visit with Kantwa on the streets she gave him her socks and when they went back the next night he told her he had hidden them so no one could see them but him. They were his treasure! Amazing, that a pair of socks were so important and meant so much to one little boy and what kind of treasures has God given us that we keep hidden? Can you write creatively? Are you good with loving people? Do you have a gift for cooking and could take meals to families in need? What are you gifted with but don't use because of one reason or another.
This has been a huge challenge to me and God is really stretching me and asking me to do some things that require me to 'get out of my boat', or my comfort zone so to speak. I am going back to ministry school winter term. I don't know where God will use me or how, but I feel that is part of taking care of my hidden treasures. I have become involved in Amani Life Project and feel like maybe God is going to take me other places with that, but for now I'm trying to use my gifts there.
So what do you hide? What do you have buried deep down that keeps you from living a ridiculously abundant life?
What gifts do you keep hidden that God intended for use? Is there something that really drives you that you absolutely love? Should you be sharing that with others?
I challenge you to look inside and see what treasures you have hidden. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
ps - Check out Sherri's recent post on Rap Music and her extremely insightful thoughts on the music and rappers. Talk about stretching!