Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Let Your Light Shine


Have you ever written or said something, only to wonder how it will be received or perceived by others?

If you said "no" I don't believe you one bit. It's human nature to wonder how others will react to the things we say and do in our daily lives. However, with practice (and often necessarily with prayer) I fully believe one can learn to free themselves from obsessing too much over this while still maintaining a healthy concern for how we present ourselves to the world. In other words, I think it's wise to be aware of how we conduct ourselves and pay attention to the feelings of others - but perhaps even more wise to know the cutoff point at which this becomes self-obsessive, restrictive, and essentially keeps us from being the people God created us to be.

So what am I really getting at here? I recently read Dwija's beautifully honest piece about how she used to worry if sharing her happy news might rub salt in the wounds of those who may not be experiencing happiness within their own lives. I think her concern for others in this regard is wonderfully kind - although as she came to realize with time, it's also unnecessary.

Dwija shared that while she is currently going through some serious, scary stuff with her pregnancy (please pray for her and her family!), she is not sad when she reads or hears happy stories from others. Instead, she rejoices that there are healthy moms and healthy babies out there!

When I read her sentiments about all of this I felt so grateful for her testament. Too often we hesitate to share good news with others because we are worried that it will somehow appear as if we are rubbing it in the faces of others that we are experiencing such joy and they, perhaps, are not. But God didn't show us His light and love only to hide it beneath the proverbial bushel.
"nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:15-17
And as Dwija so eloquently stated,
"...there is nothing that makes me happier, gives me more peace, than knowing that there are women enjoying trouble-free pregnancies. How wonderful! How hopeful! What a relief it is to know that not everyone is suffering this same kind of suffering. I'm just so grateful on their behalf that they are not asked to bear this particular cross. Healthy pregnancies are out there! Full term babies are out there! Membranes of steel are out there!
...Please don't ever be afraid to share joy in the face of contrasting sorrow. There is not a finite amount of grace or happiness or peace or regularness in this world. If your situation is filled with grace or happiness or peace or blessed regularness, I know you haven't snatched my share from me."
Amen. Just as sharing our heartaches, burdens, and the crosses we carry can sometimes help others see that they are not alone, it is equally important for us to shout God's goodness from the rooftops when He blesses us with good, happy, uplifting experiences! Rather than fearing that we will drag depressed individuals further down with our happiness, we should take comfort in knowing that it's quite possible our joy will uplift, inspire, or encourage those around us so they may be reminded of God's goodness and rejoice with us. 

Personally, I designed and began this blog with the intention of sharing the parts of my life that radiate God's love with others...and I have occasionally wondered if any of my readers are under the impression that my life is somehow "picture perfect" or if I paint a picture of joy to the extent that it becomes unbelievable or possibly unrelatable. However, at the end of the day my life is not perfect and Lord knows there are aspects that I don't highlight for the world to read - but mostly I have simply been blessed in this season of my life in ways that I (thankfully) don't have any crosses that are so heavy I need to write about them on here. But if/when I encounter such situations, I take hope in the fact that there are so many other wonderful, brave, and strong women out there with voices that would remind me I'm not alone.

So whether we are experiencing seasons of joy or sorrow, as long as we keep God at the center it's important to simply be ourselves and not hesitate to share our individual journeys with others - because in our sorrows we can find and promote a community of support and prayers...and in our joys it's possible that our good news may nourish and uplift the souls of those carrying a different cross.

When I reflect on all of this I thank God for blessing us each with unique life experiences - both easy and difficult, happy and sad. Because we can always rest assured that there is someone else in this mystical body of Christ who can relate to or perhaps be inspired by our stories. AMDG.

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." 
Matthew 5:17

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