You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (English Standard Version)
“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.”
From A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson
Life gives us opportunities to expose ourselves-to let our “lights” shine. I had two such opportunities within the past two weeks. I first submitted three of my photographs to a juried show that was being sponsored by a local art gallery, which will also be a traveling show. The second was a mobile photography contest that was also juried.
Now mind you, this was the first time I’ve entered any program like these two; and to be blunt I was a bit nervous at first. Like any artist, there was that part of me that wondered if my work would even be accepted: did I have what it takes to put my work out? It was one thing to be part of the local library’s annual history contest. It was also another thing to have my Flickr page and my blog as well (links furnished)-those I could kind of keep my work in a “safe” area. However, as any artist knows, galleries and juried shows are a tough genre at times-especially for the first time entrant. To be honest, part of me said to just forget it and wait another day…
However, what good would that have done me? Heaven knows I’ve passed many opportunities to let my light shine, only to regret it later. These two times, I just had to acknowledge the fear, yet go for it. Now, my images are in the caring hands of judges-both at the gallery and online. If things go well for me, I can have the satisfaction that I put my name out there and let my creativity “light” shine. And if things don’t go the way I’d like, at least I put my name out there and have the satisfaction that I made the attempt. Plus either way I’d learn something new in the process!
We’re called to let our lights shine. Jesus and Marianne both exhort us to do so in the above texts. There’s nothing cute or “holy” about hiding our lights; which many of us do too often. We hide our lights, thinking we’re not “good enough” when quite possibly we are. We’re called to shine, shine so that others can see our “good works” and glorify God. Plus, we never know how our light-our good works-may help others. We never know who we might inspire or encourage to let their light shine.
Let your light shine. Peace.