This week something interesting happened to me. I made a gift for someone, and they absolutely loved it. As they exclaimed over it and admired it, they asked if it had taken me long to make. I shrugged and said, “Just a few hours” – when in fact I spent more than 30 hours working on it. I poured a lot of heart and soul into it. Why then, did I diminish it? Why did I feel the need to fib about how much effort I had put into that gift?
I must admit, I had to give that question some long, hard thought. What I realized is that I am still following the pattern that has dominated much of my life. I’m hiding my Light. You know that song, “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine?” How many of us are afraid to let our “lights” shine? How many of us hold back a large part of ourselves?
Maybe we are afraid of being braggarts. Nobody likes a boastful, prideful person. From a young age, our parents teach us modesty and humility, which is not a bad thing in itself. But where do we draw the line? Are we not allowed to take pride in our own accomplishments at all?
There is a very big difference between sharing our gifts with the world, and showing off. When I look back across my life, I see a classic underachiever. Not because I wasn’t capable of achieving anything, but because I was ashamed and embarrassed by my own abilities and strengths. I denied them and hid them at every available opportunity. If I shared those gifts with the world, it would call attention to me, attention I didn’t feel worthy of accepting.
Perhaps I was also afraid of ridicule. If I shared my heart and soul with the world, would I be laughed at or made fun of? Nothing could shoot my confidence down more quickly than rejection. Maybe you’ve had the same experiences? Have you had feelings of hesitancy about sharing your gifts? Have you been hiding your light, holding back an essential part of yourself?
How dare we hide our Lights? They are not ours to hide. They were given to us by a loving God of Light – the same light that shines within us. Each of us has a little spark of the Divine within. By denying that part of ourselves, we also deny God within us! We have a responsibility to share ourselves with the world; not in a way that proclaims us to be better than anyone else, but in a way that uplifts and enriches others.
We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the world, and we owe it to God, the one who gave us these gifts and abilities to begin with. What good is a gift that doesn’t get used? Imagine a flower being afraid to bloom, rain being afraid to fall, the sun being afraid to shine. We need to shift our perspective and realize that by hiding our lights, we are not serving anyone. Love, unexpressed, is not love at all.
So many of us think that we have nothing to share. We spend most of our days feeling like an empty shell. However, nothing is truly ever empty. Nature abhors a vacuum. Ah, remember that, from Science class? 😉 Though you may feel empty, there is something inside of you. It may be chaos or joy, optimism or pessimism, hope or doubt – but something is there. If you don’t like what it is, you have the ability to change it by the power of your thoughts.
Know that you do have something to share with the world. If you will dare to reach down inside your soul and feel around a bit, you will find a long forgotten dream. A sense of excitement that you once had, a knowingness that you could change the world and make it just a little bit brighter. Reclaim that dream. It never really left you, it just got covered with a little dust. Clean it off and set it upon your mantle of hope. Infuse it with new life, and allow it to come into Being.
Remember that you are the only one holding yourself back.
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