It all started with a picture. I was standing tall with head and back straight and a big smile on my face. It was a picture taken in a happy moment, a moment I wanted to cherish. In that moment I felt carefree, confident and happy, and the photo reflected those feelings. Yet that picture caused a stir in someone. She wanted to know why I looked so confident in the picture, why I looked like I thought I was “all that.” Unfortunately she had interpreted my happiness for something else, and I did not and could not understand her disapproval. In fact, what was so wrong about looking happy and confident in a picture? Or even in real life?
In my late teenage years, I read the above quote and it deeply resonated and still resonates with me today. All of us have been blessed with gifts and talents that we sometimes hide, cover, or try to avoid. Often times we hold ourselves back so that we can maintain the status quo. We are afraid to ruffle feathers or make others uncomfortable. It is deeply human to yearn to be loved and/or liked, and sometimes to fulfill that yearning we wear masks. We downplay our gifts, talents and insights, erroneously believing that it’s arrogance to use, display and develop them. Over time we stifle those very gifts and talents, cripple our potential or even throw away our destinies.
Most of us are guilty of it. Women especially have been taught to downplay their gifts. While I do not advocate that any of us walk around in arrogance and that humility is truly a virtue, humility does not demand that we dumb down or ignore our God given talents all in the name of human acceptance. In actuality, it is far better to bring our Creator glory by using the talents He gifted us.
In fact, anyone who demands that you dim your light does not have your best interests at heart, and dimming your light for that person’s approval is not a worthy cause. So I challenge you to let your light so shine, to use your talents, your gifts and your voice. Do not rob the world of your gifts. You will be surprised by how much you sharing your talents will open up the door for others to do the same. How many times have we been inspired by those who refused to play it safe?
The commenter did not know that the picture reflected the person I was working on becoming. She only inspired me to continue the journey of allowing myself to blossom in the woman God created me to be. Everyone will not be on board when you walk with your head held high smiling, confident that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. I know I want to use my gifts and talents so that He can say to me “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”