“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. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. 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. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson
This quote, often incorrectly attributed to Mr Nelson Mandela, resonates so strongly with me. You can hide away in the darkness – but you can’t hide away in the light. Being in the light, letting people see the beauty of who I am, living up to the all the potential God created in me scares the living daylights out of me. I like to hide away – if I’m hiding myself away, there is no need to fear embarrassment, not making it, not doing it correctly – not letting everyone see your failures, your flaws, your embarrassing moments.
But, how can you live an abundant life and hide away at the same time?
Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I’d prefer to be that candle under the bowl; being out and giving light to everyone bestows huge responsibility on how you live your life. Sometimes I think (know) I just don’t want the attention, the embarrassment, the responsibility.
I was alerted to this second attack by Gregory the Great (540-604), who was surely one of the most spiritually attuned popes who ever served (Gregory was pope from 590 to 604). He initially mourned being chosen pope, as he preferred a life of quiet contemplation and worship, but he realized that just as pride moves some to aspire to famous positions, so pride (love of self) can move others to shirk responsibility—and so he served. Are you getting how in tune he was with the subtle way in which sin can attack us from both ends? The Second Attack by Gary Thomas
This quote on Gary Thomas’ blog was a lightbulb moment for me. I would want to shirk all responsibility to focus quietly on those things I enjoy – not even just for a life of contemplation and worship (at least that is noble) – for me it would be reading, running and watching TV. But, realising that my hiding myself away from the world is a form of pride – that my fears, my insecurities, my anxieties are all more important to me than living a live of abundance (which is what Jesus came to give us).
If I want this abundant life that Jesus promised to us, then I need to get out from under the bowl and let my light shine. God created me with a unique set of gifts and talents and likes and dislikes, and I can’t (I shouldn’t) hide those away. It is fundamental to who I am.
Psalm 139:14King James Version (KJV): I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
So, how do you go from living your life under a bowl, hiding away from the world to letting your light shine? It’s not easy – if you’re shy, you’re shy. That isn’t going to change over night. But, slowly, step by step, you can make the decision to change, to move out from under that bowl, and into the light that God created you to be. You can learn to accept your power, your love, your gifts and talents, your abilities and desires, as beautiful – because you are, in essence, a beautiful person.
In every moment we have a power to create all our experiences in life and they are created by our exercising the power of choice. In all things there are choices to make and the results of these choices will lead to the nature of your experience. It applies to everything and everybody our choices define our lives. The Choice Is Yours by Jonathan Hilton
We have to choose – sometimes our fears and insecurities are so deeply etched into our minds that we feel we will never be free, and sometimes our fears and insecurities become a comfort to us, something we know and rely on. So we choose – one step at a time – we choose to move beyond, out of the darkness and into the light, one choice, one step – and then another – and then another… And before long, we’ll be living a completely different life. And loving it. Remember, what we sow, we will reap. So, let’s start sowing the kind of life we truly want to live – an abundant life – and let’s start making small and big choices through our words, deeds and thoughts to move in that direction.
Today, I am truly grateful for:
1. That God has given me a mind to think, to understand, to know.
2. That God has given me faith, to believe, to hold onto, to know that God loves and wants what is best for me.
3. That God has blessed me with a good marriage – not just a good marriage, but a great marriage. A place where I feel safe, where I can truly be myself, and where even though I may not always be understood, I am always loved.
4. That I can live my life totally dependent on God and He will honour that – His strength is shown in my weakness. Life may never be easy for me, we may always battle financially, but God is always with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me – I am grateful to be a believer. I shudder at the thought of navigating this life without God by my side. I love God, I love Him and all He has done for me, I love Jesus and that He died to save my life. My life that I don’t view as worth anything, God sees as being precious and worth saving. I am in awe that this God who created the Heavens and the earth can love all of mankind so deeply and so much (me included).
5. I am grateful that I am learning that I have choices – I can choose to think differently, I can choose to love differently, I can choose to react to life’s situations differently. God has created me with powerful choice options – and I can choose to love like He loves us, and to think as He thinks. I can renew my mind to have the mind of Christ.
I have so much to be grateful for.