Devoid of any particular positivity this morning, I wandered around campus with my head down. I didn't hesitate to smile up at others, and yet: My heart has been quite downcast since I first woke up at 6:30 this morning.
And so flipped on my music. I read my devotional and I tried not to panic at this unnerving feeling. This feeling of dread, much mores substantial than warranted by a typical Monday. I reminded myself of all God has been showing me lately, how He has been weeding out the fear in my life and drawing me nearer to His arms. But the fear of athletic mediocrity; the fear of failure; the ache of rejection, all hit me hard as I tried to press in to the Father. The pain I feel is notably trivial in the long run, but it has such a powerful, daunting presence in the moment, washing over me like waves.
Because the fear of failure cuts deep...
and the pain of rejection lies subtly in the depths, shadowing our hopes and dreams with its lies.
I smiled at a driver, feeling a tinge of guilt that my years of acting experience allow me to fake out the world with such ease. And then, I saw it. Crumpled up in the parking lot, lay a $20 bill. I didn't see anyone nearby who it might belong to, so I picked it up gingerly and felt the worn paper in my hands. I was a little irked, to be honest. Why was God giving me money, I had asked for His presence, not a quick cash donation. How the heck was $20 supposed to "sooth my soul?!"
And yet, I began to think about what I could do with the money. After all, I hadn't been craving $20, so I wouldn't miss it if I just gave it away. I wondered: "How I could bless someone else with this gift that I hadn't deserved?" I tend to overanalyze things, so I began concocting the plan that would bring about the most glory for God-- silly, right? But I wanted to give the money to the person who would get the most joy out of it. I wanted to make the absolute best choice. There were too many possibilities!
Then, the Spirit reminded me: "I've given you the money, don't you think I will use it for my maximum glory? Don't you trust that I can do that?"
And even as I began to question why God would've given me $20 when I'd been asking for His presence, it all made sense: My gift of running-- or gift of anything, really-- is from Him. (RELATED: My Running Motto) He desires to use those gifts, to grow them and expand them for the kingdom. But we so often forget that we can trust Him to bring those gifts to fruition, thinking that we need to pray and plead and work hard to make it happen ourselves. That's not how God works. When God prints money, He has a plan. He doesn't just dole out His $20 dollar bills and hope that we stumble upon a worthy cause for His money. No. The money He gives-- the gifts He bestows-- are guided by His hand.
If the Lord has given you a gift of athleticism or "mad brain skills" or financial stability or anything of the sort, He has done so for a reason and is going to develop those gifts and talents as you surrender to Him.
God's economy is authored by grace, but it isn't lackadaisical.
Perhaps you are feeling disheartened and discouraged today, overwhelmed at what looms ahead. I encourage you to meditate on Matthew 25:14-30 and the truth I've offered up in this post. You aren't abandoned or unwanted, and neither are the gifts the Father has bestowed upon you. Take heart and press on.