Not My Best Skill Set.

Dear Samantha,

For the first time in my life, I am struggling with feeling useless in the face of the task before me.  Maybe useless is an understatement.  Picture…hmmm…a fish on a bicycle.


I had a chance to explore this feeling further when our weekend projects came to an abrupt halt.  (Anytime that happens it is usually expensive and highly disappointing.)  Nonetheless, I was all revved up to accomplish something so marched across our yard clutching an industrial trash bag, intent on picking up the flood litter that was strewn about our 40 acres.  I gazed across the horizon, settled on a small expanse where Samantha used to swing, and set to work.   It is a daunting job, but I was tired of feeling useless.  What’s more, my “can’t help with” list had exceeded my “can do” list, and it picked at me like a record skipping in my mind.  So I decided just to focus on what I can do.  Something little.  Something anyone could do.

photo-3Alone with the soundtrack of the wind in my trash bag, I let myself feel the frustration of being ill equipped for rebuilding a house.   I can’t lift the things I used to lift a decade ago.  I have never even built a dog house – let alone a people house.  I am a teacher, an entrepreneur, and (as you have encouraged me) a fairly good writer.  I am NOT a carpenter, a mason, or a plumber.  Yet this is my journey!  I believe in my heart of hearts that nothing is purposeless.   So what do I do with my talents that are ill-adapted for this job?  And how will I ever develop all the talents that I need to succeed on this path I am on now?

What I thought were my original ideas started to seem awfully familiar. Gradually emerging from my memory was the story of Moses – a shepherd, a man “slow of speech and of tongue” – who God chose to lead a nation of His people.   Moses supplied a long list of reasons why God picked the wrong man for the job.  I can relate!  God listened [patiently] and replied:

“Who gave man his mouth?  Who makes him deaf or mute?  who gives him sight or makes him blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” – Exodus 4:11,12

Moses and I both thought our respective tasks were ill suited to our talents.   He too, questioned whether he was strong enough to stand up to the voices of discouragement and opposition.  I imagine that we both believed the task ahead to be too big, or maybe we simply wanted God to pick someone else.  No such luck for either of us.  Instead, God promised to fill our talent-gaps along the way.

After an hour or so, the segment of property that I had carved out to clean up was looking mighty tidy and I was feeling outsideourtalentsenergized.  It feels good to work hard and to face what lies ahead.  As I took in my surroundings and the flattened earth that awaits a house, I decided that it must be here, when we are working far outside of our talents, where God’s most powerful work happens.  The blessings in your life too, Samantha, will come from watching the impossible happen not just in spite of your inadequacy, but because of it.  In your weakness, God’s great work can shine.

My answer to myself and my advice to you on what to do with mis-matched and missing talents?   Let God’s work unfold.  Look for it.  Expect it.  And share it!   God’s words personalized for you – “Now, go, Samantha, I will help you with what to say and do, and teach you what you need to know.”

Incubating the new talents God has planted in me,

P.S.  To anyone reading this who might feel sad that I was picking up trash all by myself, please don’t!   I will gladly accept all the help I can get this fall at our trash pick up party (stay tuned for details!), after construction stops for the year.  Until then I just do it to blow off steam 🙂   Sometimes a girl just needs to be alone with her trash!


Further encouragement:

Hind’s feet on high places, by Hannah Hurnard
Much-Afraid had been in the service of the Chief Shepherd, whose great flocks were pastured down in the Valley of Humiliation. She lived with her friends and fellow workers… Read more

Read the first 5 books of the bible in 10 weeks with YouVersion.
Until last year, I had never read these books straight through.  What an epic journey!  I highly recommend it.


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