Growing up in a conservative church setting, everything and anything individualistic was concealed. It was all about the group. Any great talent the individual possessed was often seen as a tool that could destroy them and was often used but in a rather cautious manner.
I have never been taught to be fully aware of and appreciate the talents God gave me. This, I believe, destroyed my confidence in displaying them and made me vulnerable to adopting a self-important attitude upon hearing compliments from other people as I grew up. Going from solely hearing “It’s all for God” said in shamefulness to people saying “You have an amazing voice!” can almost certainly result in anyone having a ‘big head’. Some people respond with saying “It’s all for God” shamefully as I did, true to my conservative upbringing, only killing an inward and very human urge to be great, to be known and to be noticed.
I strongly believe that any and every human urge we possess can be used for the glory of God. Lust, for example, as a shameful subject in the church can be used to point out to the fact that there are certain ‘holes’ that only God can fill. Physical lust, without the intervention of the Spirit, is a never ending burden, a monster that needs to be fed in order to be kept at bay. But, when God comes into our lives, He crushes the cycle by filling us with Him. We have not put the monster to shame, but have rather given it a different diet. We can also do the same for for any other human urges we may have, such as the urge to be great, to be known and noticed. It is a desire that lies within every one of us. The monster needs to be given a different diet.
We often starve the monster because it, like lust, is never satisfied. When it is overly-fed, the individual becomes haughty; when it is starved, the individual lacks confidence. There is often no middle ground. The biggest mistake here is that we feel our talents belong to us. You’re up there performing right? It makes sense. One problem with that; a problem that kills many people is that you fall into the trap of feeding off other people’s ticks and crosses. Feeding off both positive and negative feedback will kill you. Your talents don’t belong to you and you’re not meant to be a slave to other people’s opinions.
Your talents have been given to you by God and are validated in Him! Sing, dance and shout as boldly as you can knowing that the validation comes from a never-changing being. The problem with relying on people’s feedback is that they are hot for you one day and suddenly cold the next. You never know where you stand. You contantly have to run up to them in your fluffy blue suit for the next cookie.
Your validation was given to you in a promise sealed with blood. We can not and should not be shy and conservative when it comes to what God has enabled us to do. For wherever we are and in whatever we do, we are representing God. People who shy away from purpose and step out timidly into the world do not best represent the power a Christian ought to possess.
What best feeds this monster is the validation of Christ and the order to use every talent to bring glory to Him. “It’s all for God”, and there is absolutely no shame in it.
Be bold, loud and proud!