Spiritual paralysis comes when we are afraid of making a mistake, thus the sin of the buried talent. — John Paul Jackson

Someone is READING. MY. MAIL.

This quote describes nearly a decade of my spiritual life, from the age of 20 to 28. I call it the Dead Zone, where I “worked on character” rather than gifting, because I was certain that I didn’t deserve legitimacy until I was respectable. I was all questions and fears and the answers I received confirmed this belief that I wasn’t good enough to be very useful just yet.

Father forgive me.

Ignorance is a painful thing. But it comes with a lighter price tag than rebellion. I was told when I was 19 years old that God had given me prophetic, teaching, and preaching gifts.

I certainly had no grid for growing in a prophetic gifting at that age, and I wasn’t aware of using it except for a handful of times where it came on accident. But it was the primary calling of God on my life, and I should have stepped forward and used the gift. I buried my talent because I was afraid of hurting someone or looking like a fool or ruining my future reputation. In fact, I would say that reputation is still a concern with which I battle.

There’s a difference between being Called vs being Sent. My mistake was assuming that I was merely waiting for the time of Sending, when I SHOULD have been actively preparing myself through practice, seeking, discipleship, etc. so that I was prepared to be Sent.

I saw this mistake a lot in my early Christian life. I saw a lot of people who had heard the word of the Lord on their life’s purpose, who after hearing had chosen to wait for God to do it all. This led to burying the talent and focusing on other less important details in life.

Beware the leaven of the Pharisees

There’s also a Pharisaical element at risk here. When you put people in a position to have to earn the right to use their spiritual gifts, you create a works-based traditional system. Obviously, a baby doesn’t have the maturity to mentor and guide a church family. But a baby may be the only mouthpiece willing to speak the unadulterated truth at a time when politics or tradition have blocked the way to growth. Don’t despise the utterances of the immature.

Lesson Learned: You did not earn the gift of God that resides inside you. IT WAS A GIFT! You are now a steward of that gift. It’s that simple. Nurture it. Protect it. But above all… USE IT.

What purpose and calling has God created you for?

To those who are faithful with the little they have, more will be given. To those who are not faithful, what little they have will be taken away and given to someone who IS faithful.

If God has spoken to you directly or through another a calling that resonates in your heart, grasp it with both hands and apply all your available energies to growing in that thing. He will reward your faithfulness, regardless of how long it’s taken you to get started.