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I was sitting in church weeks ago. I had finished the manuscript for Brazen and we were beginning to start discussions on moving this new book toward release, how we were going to continue to find an audience for my work. And I was triggered in a million different ways. Sometimes God opens doors in life — doors we have prayed he’d open — but that doesn’t mean it’s not scary to walk through them.   

Some of you know just what I’m talking about.

So I was sitting in church and I was in knots. I can’t even tell you what the sermon was about that morning because God was whispering in my ear to read The Parable of the Talents. “Get out your phone, Leeana, and read The Parable of the Talents. And read it in The Message paraphrase.”

So I did.

I dug my phone out of my purse and I pulled up The Parable of the Talents in The Message and I started reading. I completely checked out of anything else happening in the room, and I read a story I have read at least a hundred times in my life. It goes like this:

The master is going on a trip, so he leaves his servants with money to invest while he’s gone, keeping his business flourishing in his absence. He gives the first servant $5,000. Another servant gets $2,000. And then the third gets $1,000.

The first servant goes out and doubles the money — 10 grand! The second servant does the same — 4 grand! The third servant, “dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.”

After some time, the master returns from his trip and goes to his servants to see what they’ve done with the money he left in their care. The first servant produces $10,000. “Good work!” the master says. The second servant produces $4,000. “Good work!” the master says.

And the third servant says the following: “I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.”

As the story goes, the master is furious and calls this third servant a “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb.

I knew, sitting there in church, reading this story, that I was to be paying attention.

The words that stick out to me — stick to me — in this passage are:

“carefully buried” — Sometimes I think I’m doing God a favor by carefully burying and protecting what he’s put in my hands. I’m reminded here, that what he has given me, he has meant for me to offer, not protect like a precious.

“afraid I might disappoint you” —  How many times in life do I let fear dictate my decisions? It’s so easy to see in this story how the servant’s fear of disappointing his master completely derailed him, completely misdirected him. In his attempt to protect what his master had given him, he did the one thing that did disappoint the master. He hid. {Ugghhhhhh.}

“I found a good hiding place” — No matter how good our hiding place, no matter how safe, no matter how secure, hiding is not what God wants for us. He has not put things (people, talents, resources, opportunities) in our hands so that we will hoard them.

It’s easy to see the servant’s flawed thinking when we read the story. It is a whole different thing to take the risk of investment ourselves. In The Message, this passage is titled “The Story About Investment.” That’s fascinating to me.

For most of my life I’ve read this story with some kind of pressure attached to it. Like, you better make something of yourself and what God’s given you. You better not make God mad. You better not disappoint him. Maybe I would have called it “The Story About Responsibility” or “The Story About Success” or “The Story About Pleasing the Master.”

But it’s not called that. It’s called “The Story About Investment.” And I think that changes my perspective a bit.

On that Sunday weeks ago in church I read the story differently. Or it rested in my soul differently. I saw how, when fear is our motivator, it blocks us and congests us and stunts us. It keeps us from investment. Fear keeps us from expanding into the God-ordained space we have been invited to take up in this world.  

Our fear response as humans is to hide. Always has been. And so for those of us who struggle like this, we make a lot of excuses about why we can’t go for it, why we are unwilling or unable to live the life we are “capable of living,” in the words of Nelson Mandela. We make it our practice to “carefully bury” opportunity or possibility or hope.

God has opened up spaces in my life. He has cleared a path for me and has provided opportunity. He’s done that for you too. I can bury that opportunity out of fear I’ll mess it all up.

Or, I can try. I can risk investment. I can risk expansion. We do not take this on as a mantle of worry and fear and pressure bearing down on us. God’s expectations of us are not crushing. Instead, we pray these words like a mantra . . . “And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!” (Psalm 90:17, MSG)

I wonder if God has drawn a circle for each of us and he’s inviting us to come stand in it. Occupy it. Expand to fit it. Not edit ourselves. Expand. And it’s scary. Some of us are just staring at the circle paralyzed. Some of us have one foot on either side of the circle’s edge, wondering if we should really commit ourselves or not. Some of us are trying our level best to fit into someone else’s circle. We’re afraid of how we’ll be perceived, afraid of failure, afraid God got it wrong this time.

Instead of finding a good hiding place, instead of carefully burying, instead of being motivated by fear, what if we stepped into the opportunity for investment, the opportunity for expansion. Even though it’s not a sure thing.

How brazen.

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Brazen releases in just [FOUR] more weeks! You can pre-order your copy now on Amazon and B&N or wherever books are sold. When you do, I’d love to send you a thank you gift in the mail just for pre-ordering. Go here, fill out the form, and I’ll send you a signed bookplate and a decal with a quote from Brazen . . . just my way of saying thank you so much for your support!!!


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