It was 2017 and I was lost not sure what direction my life was headed. Just a year earlier, my mother had died and my wife, Genevieve, had been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Financially, we were struggling due to mounting medical expenses and, emotionally, raising two boys with a very sick wife was challenging. The culmination of all these events was overwhelming me to the point where I was not dealing with the sadness, pain, and even anger I felt. I was operating on auto pilot. Living each day as it came. No more, no less.
Questions began to flood my mind. What was my God-given purpose? What Spiritual Gifts do I have? Who am I? Low self-esteem and a sense of failure continued to overwhelm me at times. What was God calling me to do? It certainly could not be all this.
What was my God-given purpose? What Spiritual Gifts do I have? Who am I? Low self-esteem and a sense of failure continued to overwhelm me at times. What was God calling me to do? It certainly could not be all this.
In that season, everything from my career to my spiritual life to relationships felt unsettled and out of alignment. Deep down inside, I knew who I was, but I continued making excuses and closing some of the doors the Lord was opening for me. Too often, other people and life were dictating what my life was to look like, instead of allowing myself to be fully present and be a participant in God’s story. Can you relate?
As I was evaluating my life and direction, this question from God scared me: “What did you do with my life?”. What would my answer be? It reminded me of Matthew 25:14-30, The Parable of the Talents.
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Had I hidden my talent? Even if I was not the one talent person who buried his gift, maybe the Lord had given me five talents and I had buried four of them. I realized my answer to God would be more like a sound bite. I imagined myself sharing my story with Him and, after a few moments, not having anything more to say. I wanted to be able to answer His question of, “What did you do with my life?” with what I had done using all He had given me. I want to honor Him because He has given so much to me and so I can hear those words, “Well done, good, and faithful servant.”
As I started searching for answers, I noticed I kept looking at it all wrong. I kept putting “I” in everything I asked. I was trying to figure out these answers, but God had created the Body of Christ to take the “I” out and put the “we” in to help me. The questions of purpose and gifts were good questions, but I needed help answering them. God continued to put people in my life to speak into it, but I was not listening well. This was not my story; it was God’s. He had written me into His creation for a purpose designed by Him. Would I choose to join Him in the story He was writing, or would I continue to choose my own story? I decided it was time to hit the reset button and allow God to edit my life.
This was not my story; it was God’s. He had written me into His creation for a purpose designed by Him. Would I choose to join Him in the story He was writing, or would I continue to choose my own story? I decided it was time to hit the reset button and allow God to edit my life.
My journey to discover who I was in God had begun. It was time to fully answer the life-altering questions He placed on my heart: “How could I move out of survival-mode and into the fullness of life He offers?” “What was my God-given purpose?” “What was I supposed to do with the gifts He had given me?”. In my quest to find answers to these life-giving questions, the Holy Spirit first showed me I needed to be vulnerable with God and others. Next, I needed to listen to God’s voice through the people He was putting in my life and even in His creation all around me. Lastly, I needed to let Jesus walk more with me and allow Him to heal me of my low self-esteem, lostness, and lack of faith.
I invite you to join me over the course of the next few weeks as I go more in-depth on Vulnerability, Listening, and Walking with Jesus. We will discuss how The Big Three opened my eyes to a world I did not understand nor fully grasped. By intentionally pursuing The Big Three, I began to transform and discover how God had uniquely designed me and with what spiritual gifts He had blessed me with. My low self-esteem and lostness started to vanish. God took my 2017 broken and barely surviving self and transformed me into someone whose’s mission is now to help others grow, thrive and serve in God.
God took my 2017 broken and barely surviving self and transformed me into someone whose’s mission is now to help others grow, thrive and serve in God.
I look forward to sharing some of the life-changing steps I took to living a more God honoring and purposeful life and how it led me down a path to begin a ministry called GTS Life. I pray my journey will inspire you in some way, to connect more deeply with God and your purpose in the Kingdom.
Your friend, Caleb Elrod