Monday, May 21, 2012

Coveting My Neighbour's Light

I'm not especially prone to coveting my neighbour's possessions, but I am still fatally prone to coveting. When I look around me I am flabbergasted by the glorious beauty that God has put in people and in the world. When I speak with poets, when I see dancers, when I hear music, or when taste the cooking of a talented friend, in theses circumstances I feel overwhelmed by the the image of God as it is emblazoned on my friends and my world. This is almost a wonderful way to view the world, but let me explain how I ruin it.

Instead of enjoying the talents, success, beauty, or wit of others with gratitude, I am too often envious. I see people laughing and I wish I was laughing; I see people dance and I wish I was not afraid to dance. In short I see the face of God in others and I wish that it was in me too. It is in me, but at times, instead of being encouraged by the light that is in them, I covet. I wish my light was like their light, and I hide my own gifts.

I think this is actually pretty common. In some sad places the attitude that says, “Others are beautiful but I am awful.” is encouraged, and treated as though it were real attitude of humility. Self effacement is not humble; it is entirely self centered. True humility doesn't focus in on one's own talents or inadequacies; humility makes one looks outside oneself.  True humility fixes your eyes on Jesus.

The fact is that the image of God is on you. You reflect the light of God in a way no one else can. When you see the image of God displayed on another's face, or God's artistry exhibited in another's work, know that the same God who's glory you admire in others lives in you also. God designed you and dwells in you. God doesn't make spare people to just fill up space, he created you specifically and intentionally. Please, for the love of God, let your light shine (Matthew 5:16).

“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.” -Marianne Williamson

We Three by Matt Reinbold

I have been advised that some of Williamson's other writings range from insipid to heretical. I'm not an expert on the subject, and can make no comment. I like this excerpt and find it to be tremendously uplifting. You're free to investigate or ignore Williamson at your own discretion.

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