I am a sloth.
And I’m not talking about that cute lil animal up in the trees. Though, I wish I was.
It seems lately that this word has been coming up over and over again in my life. Until now, I always misunderstood it. This word has shown up in my personality profiles, and more recently while reading a book about ministry, “slothfulness” was the deadly sin I most identified with. This book revealed that being slothful, did not simply mean that I was a super lazy person (though I can definitely be as lazy as the next guy).
What it did was call out my tendency to hide myself and allow fear to control my decisions. Ya see, being a sloth is “the temptation to diminish our lives by avoiding the harder work” and in turn it results in the “failure to engage the world with our gifts and talents”.
That seriously knocked me over when I read those words. For starters, it strikes me as extremely selfish, because it is such a waste of the gifts God has given me! Not using my gifts and talents does not honor God, and by holding them back, I am choosing to throw away what God has given me to use to glorify His name. He has given me the ability to paint, write, sing, and so many things, and my life is meant to be a tapestry of all of these gifts woven together for His name. By no means am I saying that I am a pro at any of these ventures, but they are still abilities given to me no matter the level of my skill.
I want to be seen, but I also want to remain unseen at the same time. Being seen involves risk, because you are showing the underlying parts of who you are, revealing the enigma that you are, made up of your dreams, loves, regrets, losses, and passions. Even now, I am fighting my slothfulness. This week I am participating in an event called 7in7, where you create a piece of art each day. It has to be something brand new, so you can’t complete unfinished projects. Then you share your art in a group on Facebook. Man, oh man, I was so pumped! Now today, we’re here and the last thing I want to do is create and share it with other people. Even though I share my blogs every time I write them, for whatever reason this feels different.
That just shows the fear residing inside me. The fear that I am not enough. That what I have to give isn’t worthy. My friend Tom is always quoting that “Comparison is the thief of joy”, and that is so very true. Already, I find myself comparing, therefore instead of continuing to compare myself to others, my vice goes further than that and leads me to just want to give up instead.
Sitting here. Writing this. This, is the harder work. This is me choosing to push through. Slothfulness is made up of this resistance that holds us back from making of our lives what God wills. That is not at all what I want for my life. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind”.
So today I choose to fight the urge to hide. Today I choose to show myself know matter how terrifying. I will not withhold the gifts and talents God has given me from the world. I will be a good steward of that which God has given me. For just like the story of the talents in the Bible, if I choose to hide away my gifts, they will be taken from me and given to someone else who will use them. Meaning that the ways that God was going to trust me to move and speak and do, will be entrusted to someone else who will be faithful in choosing to risk. That is what faith is—walking where you cannot see.
There will be times when I show who I am and what I can do, and I will be rejected. Or whatever I create won’t be very good, and that is okay. The point is that I don’t give up, that I wake up each day and face the day, excited to discover the ways in which God can use my uniqueness to bring a little bit of light into this world.