When Your Gifts Feel Buried

It was about six years ago that I heard God calling me to write. I was passionate about writing, and I felt a deep sense of purpose through it, so I dove in head first. I gave it more energy and focus than I ever had before, and I was excited about the future.

Around the same time, God did something weird. In fact, it seemed nearly illogical to me. Instead of giving me a glamorous platform to fulfill my call to writing, God did the opposite. He called me back to school.

So, I followed Him. I spent the next five years of my life completing my degree. During that season, I also became pregnant, had a baby, and became pregnant again. Through it all, I kept on writing, but it was getting harder. With each new priority added to my plate, writing fell down a notch. Eventually, I started to decline writing opportunities because I didn’t have the time. I had to be home with my kids AND finish school, so my writing dreams would have to wait.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” - Proverbs 13:12

Heart sick is exactly how I felt during that time. I watched as friend after friend published her first book, while my own ministry seemed stuck. I was doing a lot of work in school, but no one could see it, so I struggled with feeling invisible. There were days when my gifts felt virtually hidden.

During that season, I experienced a lot of confusion. I didn’t understand why God would call me to writing, only to place such giant obstacles in front of it. I felt like God had given me a gift, and then buried it.

Whether or not you’re a writer, I think my experience is common. Maybe you put your career on hold to become a stay-at-home mom, maybe you weren’t given the promotion you deserve, or maybe you keep getting passed over for a leadership position at church. Whatever the situation, it’s easy to wonder if your gifts are being wasted.

However, my own season of waiting taught me something important. Once I emerged from those years, I was able to see how God used them to prepare me, and I came to the realization that God will never waste our gifts. He gives us gifts, because He intends to use them.

Throughout Scripture, we see this truth affirmed again and again. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25), Jesus urges us to steward our gifts, rather than bury them in the ground. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul explains that the Body of Christ is interdependent, which means we need each and every person, doing what they were called to do, or else we will all be weaker for it. And in Luke 11:33, Jesus says, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl.”

All of these verses communicate one important truth: God does not give us gifts, only to bury them. Once I understood this about the character of God, I realized something amazing about my own season of waiting:

My gifts hadn’t been buried. They had been planted.

God doesn’t bury gifts, but He does sow them. He plants them in fertile ground where they can grow deep and sturdy roots. He sows them in the depths of the soil, where they are safe from the scorching light of attention, or the choking thorns of pride.

God plants our gifts so they can one day flourish, but the planting can feel like a burial. It’s dark. The work in the ground is totally hidden. Jesus even describes the pain of this process in John 12:24: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” When God plants your gifts, it can feel like a kind of death.

If that’s you, and you’re in a season of feeling buried, I know how hard it is. It’s tough, and it can feel long. But let me encourage you to welcome this time of hiddenness. Whatever part of you needs time to grow roots, or to die, receive the process gladly.

God is tending to your gifts because He has a vision for them. So embrace it. And when it’s painful and hard, cling tightly to this truth:

You do not serve a wasteful God. He gave you every one of your gifts, because He intends to use them.

Sharon Hodde Miller

Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor's wife, and mom of two boys. She is a regular contributor to Her.meneutics and recently completed her Ph.D, which focused on cultivating the gifts of women in the church. You can connect with Sharon on Twitter.   


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