A couple days ago I had the opportunity to meet and be taught by an amazing woman. She radiated light by being her authentic self, and I felt energized just being in her presence for a short time. When she looked into my eyes, I felt seen for who I really am. She’s out there in the world making great things happen by influencing people to be their best selves. I had the thought that I wanted to be just like her. But then I realized that the world already has a Rachel. The world needs me and my unique gifts. I have my own purpose and mission. I bring things no one else can. And so do you.
For years I thought that the goal was to blend in and try to be like everyone else, not standing out at all, staying in the mainstream and going with the flow. I didn’t really have anything I wanted to do or be, besides whatever everyone else expected of me. And at the time I thought I was pretty content. It wasn’t a bad life, but I didn’t realize until later that I had been living in a cage, the bars of which were the limitations I was placing on myself. Although being a schoolteacher, wife, and mother are all great things, I was playing small because I wasn’t striving for anything more. I knew I had more to offer but was too scared to venture into unknown territory.
And then, a couple years ago, I came across this amazing quote by Marianne Williamson:
“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.”
I was going to say that these words are so perfect that nothing I can say could add anything to it. But that would contradict the very idea of what she is trying to say here! The reason I put off starting a blog for so long was that I thought other people were so much better at generating original ideas and expressing them. I got over that when I realized that it’s not about me and my capabilities; it’s about the messages burning inside me and the people who need them. Although we all differ as to our diverse gifts, every one of us is a genius in some way, and we all shine with God’s light.
When we see others who radiate that light of fearlessness and authenticity, we step up as we recognize that we can be the same. Being in the presence of this woman I met, Rachel, had that effect on me, as have all the other luminescent beings like her in my world. Because I saw the light of God shine through her, I took down a little more of my own barrier in order for the same light to shine a little more brightly through me. It’s just like the New Testament scripture in Matthew 5: 14-16:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city which is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
If you are hiding under a bushel, come on out. Get on that candlestick and shine. It’s not about you; it’s about everyone else who needs to see your light. But as you do this, or rather, become this, you will paradoxically find great joy for yourself. I know I have found this joy as I’ve let my own bushel fall away. No more playing small. You are a brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous, powerful-beyond-measure child of God. Never forget it!