Handle With Care… Or Don’t

When Charlie Lexow and I were engaged, we had several wedding showers. Wedding showers are the BEST kind of party that anyone will ever throw for you. People are so excited that you are making this amazing and life long commitment that they buy you amazing gifts. They buy you gifts way better than they would ever buy for your birthday. And the best part is that you get to go to multiple stores, make a list of the things you want, and tell people about the lists. Wedding showers are way better than baby showers because no one buys you diapers for your wedding shower.

At one of our showers, we received a beautiful gift that wasn’t on any of our lists. It was a gorgeous pasta bowl set. It came with a huge serving bowl and 6 bowls to eat from. The bottom of each bowl said it was hand made and painted in Italy and we were in love with this set.

We treated this set like it was painted by angels and delivered to us on their wings. We used it only for guests we really liked and could trust to be gentle with the bowls. We weren’t taking chances on some clumsy fellow would drop or chip one.

And then one day we were strolling through Sam’s Club , walking up and down the aisles as we did in our early days and could not afford real dates. We walked down an aisle of house wares and stopped dead in our tracks. There on the shelf, priced at $24.99, was our precious pasta bowl set. We both stood there in shock and awe, looking at boxes and boxes of our bowls. There had to be a hundred sets sitting on the shelf before us. We turned to look at each other and fell out laughing.

We had treated this set like it was irreplaceable and in fact, went without using it many times, because we thought it was priceless.

I pulled these bowls out last week to serve my family my famous vodka pasta. And by famous, I mean famous in my house. It’s legendary, but I digress. As I plopped the bowls down on the counter I laughed a little to myself, thinking about how much I truly do love this set, and how I’m so glad I no longer am afraid to use it. This got me thinking about how many things in this life I hold onto like they are precious. I started thinking about ideas I’ve been afraid to share, words I’ve hesitated to write, dreams I’ve held tightly to my breast for fear of someone mistreating them.

I’ve lived so much of my life in fear of someone mistreating what I create, or worse, not believing what I have to offer is as precious as I believe it to be. And also, I’ve often convinced myself that if I share it and it’s not loved by anyone but me, my reserves might dry up. What if I never produce anything better?

Fortunately, I have learned that creativity doesn’t work that way. There isn’t a tiny Italian village in my head with a little old lady sitting at a table, slowly hand-crafting ideas by candlelight for me to put into the world. (That’s the story I made up in my head about the bowls.) No, thankfully, God gave me this brain and this heart that he created in his very own image. And because He’s a creator, I get to be a creator, too. I can toss ideas to and fro like glitter confetti…and I should! It doesn’t matter if other people like my ideas or if they even see them. What matters is that it brings me joy to be creative and I don’t have to hide one single bit of it.

When God gives us a gift or lights a fire in our heart, his intent is that we use it. He wants us to share what we make and then make more! His supply of what we need to create is greater than the back-stock at Sam’s Club. We don’t have to ask permission from anyone on this earth to use what God has deemed holy in our hearts. And friend, let me help you understand a little piece of truth that has taken me years to understand, if God put it in your heart, it’s holy.

So share what you’ve got. You like to bake? Bake. You like to write? Write. Are you a dancer at heart? Dance. Do you like to create space for people to share their lives? Make some phone calls! Invite some friends over! Do you write contracts that help businesses survive? Good for you! Are you a singer, a mathematician, and accountant who tallies numbers all day? Do your thing! God has created you to share what He’s given.

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