Shine Bright

I'll be the first to admit I don't like being the center of attention. I feel uncomfortable when all eyes are on me. I shy away from being center stage, in the spotlight. I much prefer being behind the scenes or part of a group. But I think that tendency bleeds into other areas of my life, causing me to be hesitant in sharing things with the world around me. I instead hold things tightly to my chest that were meant to be shown.

I know I'm not the only one.

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. . . . 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. - Marianne Williamson

So what are we so afraid of, really? Do we think it's selfish to pour energy into the things we're creating or too self-promoting and bordering on bragging to share it with the world? Is that why we hide behind closed doors and backstage curtains?

Are we willing to let fear hold us back from embracing our true identity? Is that enough of a reason to keep to ourselves? Really, we are so much more than we think.

Why can’t we recognize and embrace the connection between the kind of art we long to make and the reality of our truest identity?

What if you desire to do a particular thing because God created you a particular way, not to tease you or to make you miserable, but to actually mold you into becoming more like him, for his glory and the benefit of others?

Could it be possible that the thing you most long for, the thing you notice and think about and wish you could do, is the thing you were actually made [for] and are being equipped to do?

Could it also be possible that somewhere along the way you got the message that to follow desire would be selfish, when really, it would be the opposite? - Emily P. Freeman

Wow. How crazy of a thought is that?! The things we long to do, to create, are part of what makes us who we are. And it's those very things God plans to use to make us more like Him and to touch the hearts and lives of others.

We don't have to take center stage or grab the microphone at every opportunity if that doesn't suit our strengths (hello, fellow introverts!), but we can't be afraid to contribute what we can in other ways. What are you working on? What's the most logical way to share it? Maybe you're writing a book, putting together a class, editing a video, or creating a recipe to share. Don't be afraid to put those things out there.

By being the first to step out of our comfort zones and do the scary thing of sharing our precious creative treasures, we set an example for those around us. And because our talents and gifts are uniquely different from our neighbors', we begin a chain reaction of contributing one-of-a-kind gifts, shining our lights like no one else can.

Just imagine for a second what the world would be like if people more willingly shared their hearts and their creativity, their distinctly different lights. God would be glorified. Creative solutions to problems could be reached. Collaboration would increase exponentially. Problems would get solved. People would work together instead of against each other. Compassion, empathy, understanding, grace, and kindness would abound. And it can start with us. Right here. In our homes, our families, our communities, our workplaces, our schools.

Now what's our excuse for keeping that gift from the world around us?

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. {Matthew 5:16}

Go out there, friend, and shine. The world needs your light.


Further reading:

The Email I’ll Never Forget by Emily P. Freeman

Our Path Is Lit by Jennifer Studio, (in)courage