Bags of Gold

If you asked me why I started this blog, I might say a few things.

I might say I’m doing it for the attention. I’m notorious for enjoying having people listen to me a little too much. I might also say I needed someplace to gather my thoughts and organise what I think about new things I’m being exposed to. Maybe I wanted somewhere to talk about my love for my city, or rant about things I’ve been holding on too much for far too long.

Every single one of those reasons explains, partly, why I created this site. To be honest though, the main reason has nothing to do with any of those things.


There’s a passage in Matthew 15 where Jesus tells a story about three men. They’re all servants for the same man, who gives them each some bags of gold to take care of shortly before he leaves for a trip. While he’s away, two of the servants decide to invest the money and do pretty well for themselves, as they have more gold to return to their master when he returns from his travels.
The third one though, had just kept the gold safe and didn’t multiply it; when the man came to collect the gold he was chastised, and the master commanded others to “throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

A bit harsh, if you ask me.

Anyways, that parable is usually explained as a metaphor for the talents ‘God gifts us.’

Quick aside: I’ve always found this funny since the King James translation literally calls the bags of gold ‘talents’ (which is, I believe, the actual name of the currency of the time.)

As  I was saying, the bags of gold are usually considered to represent all the abilities and skills we are born with. The idea is that you are supposed to develop these talents as much as you can, and not doing so shows a lack of responsibility and selfishness.


As some of you might know, I’m a big fan of Hank and John Green, and I regularly listen to their podcast, Dear Hank & John. Now, on the podcast they share poetry, and talk about Mars and AFC Wimbledon, but mostly they answer listener questions. I remember a question about a week or two ago from a concerned husband. He was writing in because his wife has this great artistic talent, but she was not using it; he wanted to know how he could encourage her to start showing her talent again.

The question was initially answered by John, and I liked what he had to say. He expressed his belief that no one is obligated to do something just because they’re good at it. He provided an example with his wife (sorry, in-joke). Anyways, he shared that his wife is a fantastic artist.  She’s apparently very good at illustration, but she doesn’t enjoy it that much… so she uses her time to do other things she likes.

Which I like a lot more. It feels very restrictive and unfair to be expected to work on everything you have a talent for.

However, in spite of my worldview aligning more with John Green’s than the one expressed in that Bible verse, I still live my life as if I believed the latter. Maybe it’s something to do with me having been raised Christian for so long, maybe not. In any case, it means that a few weeks ago when I realised I haven’t practised writing regularly since my senior year of high school over 5 years ago, I felt incredibly guilty.


 

When I was growing up, I always enjoyed writing essays and stories for my classes; or rather, I enjoyed my teachers praising me for my writing. It was the first talent that I ever discovered and the one I’m proudest of. However, the high expectation came with huge pressure. This has been a regular trend in my life, actually.

The next paragraph is going to sound like a huge humblebrag, but I promise I’m only saying it in the interest of honesty and full disclosure.

I’m very talented. I can play half a dozen musical instruments, I have a great eye for design, can do digital illustration, write naturally, am a natural entertainer when I try, am very intelligent and good at math, etc etc.

I’m so great, right. That’s what I’ve always been told. It’s not what I believe though. I’m great at putting up a façade of excellence, but I’m flawed and deeply lacking at many of the things I’ve grown up being praised for.

I was always afraid of showing it, though, terrified of failure. So I didn’t write. How could I? Anything I wrote would only fall short of the inhuman standards I’d allowed other people to set for me.

I’ve been able to develop my graphic design skills confidently because I didn’t discover my aptitude for it until I started college, and it came out of nowhere with no expectations and no pressure. Meanwhile, my writing has been neglected,

I’m done with that, though. I’m not a great writer, I’m definitely not as good as everyone has always told me I am, or will be. I might get there someday… but it’s going to take work.

To answer the question of why I opened my blog, here it is: I want to develop my writing skills. I am going to expose myself to judgement and criticism because the only way I can improve is through practise, in spite of the fear of failure.


I want to thank all of you for reading my posts… it helps me to know there’s such a positive and supportive group of people interested in what I have to say 🙂

What is something you have always struggled to live up to? Is there anything you’re afraid to do from fear of failure or ridicule? What is it? Do you think someday you’ll finally be able to face the fear and do it?

 

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2 thoughts on “Bags of Gold

  1. Helen Smith says:

    My creative writing was loved by my teachers in primary school – and I loved writing it! But since then I haven’t really had the chance to write any and then the thought of being judged to higher standards made me a bit nervous about starting again… But I really should, because it’s so much fun!

    Like

    • Liliana says:

      That’s exactly it!
      I’ve really been enjoying writing again, though I don’t feel quite ready to try fiction—I’ll get there though.

      You should get back into it too 🙂

      Like

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