You are talented.

Before you shake your head, deny those words, and click the little red X on this page, let me ask you a question.

Do you remember the parable of the three servants who were given different amounts of talents?

Play your note. Sing your song. Write your story. Make your art.

I’ve been thinking about it recently, this story Jesus tells in Matthew 25. The short version is this: Before leaving, a master gave three servants different amounts of money. Upon his return, they were to give the money (called “talents”) back to the master. Two of the servants chose to invest while the third servant dug a hole in the ground and hid the money.

At the time, a “talent” was a coin. But if we think of that word as a skill or a gifting, then I am, embarrassingly, quick to act like the third servant.

I come alive through the written word. The talent He gave that brings me joy is the same thing that has the power to glorify Him as I encourage others.

And yet, I wrote online for years before telling a single soul. He gave me a gift and I pushed it down, burying it in the sand, certain that was the safer option. I kept quiet, shrugged my shoulders, and came up with one hundred reasons why that was okay. Instead of using what He gave and offering it back to Him, I told myself someone else would say it better, write it better, do it better than I ever could.

Years have passed and times have changed. I’ve published a book and learned to write (and share!) the vulnerable truths that stir inside — even when my hands shake as my stomach tosses and turns. But I’m still practicing, each and every day, how to walk in obedience instead of reaching for a shovel.

Sometimes this looks like saying “yes” no matter how scared silly I am.

Sometimes it looks like saying “no” and trusting He won’t keep me from something that is for my good and His glory.

But it always, without fail, looks like keeping my eyes on Him as I faithfully take the next step and leave the end result in His hands.

It’s interesting that when the master returned, both of the servants who invested their talents had double the amount to present. By investing and using what they were given, the talents themselves grew. One servant went from five talents to ten. The other went from two to four.

And, amazingly, because they each did the best they could with what they were given, they received the same reply.

“Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)

The numbers weren’t important.

You don't have to be the best. You don't need to win it all or rank at the top. Just be you. Come alive. Be generous with your story.

It isn’t about Twitter followers or email subscribers or stacking up a pile of speaking invitations or getting a book deal. It isn’t about having a post written in vulnerable obedience go viral.

It’s about taking what we are given and bravely daring to use our talents.

It’s about not burying a gift deep down inside for safe-keeping but instead wading into the deep with open hands.

It’s about faith and obedience, not about our status or reputation or how many Facebook friends we have.

It’s about believing what has been entrusted to our care is of importance and therefore is worth sharing and using.

This is an excerpt from my post at (in)courage. It went live this morning, and I’d love for you to click over and continue reading… And then? Go ahead. Play your note, sing your song, write your story, make your art. Don’t look right or left, just do your thing bravely.