“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” --from the movie Coach Carter
Have you ever been afraid to do something and then looked around to see if you could find just one other someone doing it, and if you could, you suddenly had the guts to jump? To go for it?!
What if we all decided to consult our hopes and dreams, the God stuff inside of us, instead of our fears before making decisions? What if we actually followed those impulses to soar? To go BIG or go home!? What if we decided to truly let our light SHINE!?
I know for many (including myself) shining does not always come naturally. If you know me personally, you may find that hard to believe, but it is true. Before I speak or write, I have a terrible feeling of inadequacy that takes a great deal of prayer, grace and then an act of the will to get over myself and my own insecurities and move forward.
I have often been at a dinner party, the kind where you are seated next to a total stranger and then asked to make “pleasant conversation” all evening, and wondered about letting my light shine. It is in those moments I ask, “Lord, am I to just sit here and talk about earthly stuff, or am I to take it UP to the next level and somehow bring You into this conversation? If I am, please help me.” Sometimes I just sit and chicken out and when asked, “What do you do?” simply reply, “I teach.” or “I am an artist.” While it may be the easy way out at the time, I go home feeling, well, a great deal less than shiny-- I feel dull, covered by the dust of the earth.
But the times I decide to engage, to pray, “Come Holy Spirit! Come!” and do my best to bring God into the conversation, I go home feeling exceedingly bright, uplifted and blessed as if somehow heaven came down to the dinner table. Why? Because God always brightens up the room. What a great visual. How amazing would it be if each time God was brought into the conversation, a beautiful light glowed? What would your dinner table and life look like?
A great way I have found to get conversation steered towards the light is by asking someone what they like to do in their “spare time”. After listening, you can then tell them about a great spiritual book you may have recently read to unwind, or a Bible Study you may have attended. You can share how you make time for it because it really helps you to put the rest of your life in perspective. Or share about a sermon you heard on your “day off,” on Sunday. You can tell pretty quickly if they are the least bit interested, and if they are, the door is open for further conversation. I have found that it is a rare person who is not in some way curious--even fascinated-- by someone who is bold enough to speak about God, because HE is anything but boring! And deep down inside, everyone longs to feel the love of God. So if you have experienced His love, by all means, share it.
I am not alone in wanting to talk about God. I have had many, many other members of the “God Squad” go before me and encourage this “God speak” at any given moment. And if they had not been so bold, and taught me to be too, I rather doubt I could do it. But they did, and so by God’s grace, so do I.
So, what is it that God is asking of you? Where would He like for you to let your light shine? Is it at work? At the gym, or at tennis? At a lunch or dinner with friends? With your family? With the grocery clerk? Ask Him to fill you and enable you to be bold, yet loving. As Austen Ivereigh says, “People may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” Can you bring the warmth of the light and love of Christ with you, no matter where you go? You never know, you might just inspire someone else to do the same. Go and shine!
“Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.“ Matthew 5:16
I am fearful. I do not want to come across as a crazy person. And yet, at the same time, I know that You are the only answer for the brokenness of this world. I know that You have all that we need to live a life that is abundant and free. Help me to see the fruit of all that You offer and to see others in need of it...starving. Why would I ever withhold food from a hungry person? Help me to want what You want to do in their lives. Help me leave behind fears of being rejected or dismissed. Lord, please make me gracious. You are full of grace. Let me be able to speak of You boldly and yet also naturally and lovingly. Lord Come! Help me to shine! And let all that I do and say, reflect Your love and be to Your great glory.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.