I spend much of my time in light places. I may be part moth or something, but light draws me in. I am blessed to be surrounded by a great number of Godly friends and family, and I like it. I am comfortable in the light.
I don’t often have cause to go into dark places, and when I do have to go, I flee as quickly as humanly possible. I just don’t like the unsettling, uncertainty found there. I know what to expect from people filled with the light of God’s love. I don’t know what to expect form those wandering around in darkness.
An unpleasant side effect of this condition—this surrounding myself in light—is that my personal light doesn’t need to be all that bright.
On early summer mornings, the sun pours into our east facing living room. It has to be at just the right angle to make it past the front porch overhang, but for about an hour, the light is actually quite harsh in here. So I come in, open the curtains and turn on the light. The light from the 75 watt CFLs does little to add illumination in a room already flooded with sunlight, but I turn it on just the same. It drives my husband crazy, but I contend that more light is always better.
I am the 75watt CFL in the sun drenched living room.
I recently went into a dark place. When I volunteered to serve in this way, I did not account for the spiritual blackness I walked into. My spirit was troubled to say the least. My entire body reacted to the shadows in this place. Never in my whole life have I felt so oppressed in body and spirit when nothing in the physical world was all that different. I was flanked by other believers, but our light didn’t seem to make a dent in the dense darkness. I did what I came to do like a robot, but my mind focused on how long before I could take my leave in the least awkward manner.
I never wanted to go back there again. Never, ever, ever. Someone else could do this kind of service. I knew I needed to really thoroughly analyze my feelings though. I was not willing to ignore them because they were so strong. If going back would put myself or my children in danger, it was not a good place for us to serve. However, going into new places is quite uncomfortable. Particularly for an introvert such as myself. I didn’t want to step back from an opportunity to grow because I was letting my feelings get in the way. There is a fine line between unreliable feelings and intuition. Which was it? I had no idea.
I talked it over with my husband--a lot. We prayed about it--a lot. The day of the next opportunity came along a month later. I prayed like I had never prayed before. I felt strongly like I needed to give it one more chance, so I committed to that. And it’s a good thing I did, because almost as soon as I did, I effortlessly thought of about 35 graceful ways out. Ways that would not inconvenience anyone, ways that would not disappoint anyone--it was quite miraculous, really.
I prayed that God would make it astoundingly obvious whether or not we should continue in this ministry. There are countless ways to serve. Not everyone is called to serve everywhere, right? Maybe this just wasn’t my “thing, ” and God could use others on this one. Make it obviouse, I asked.
I went over with my Heavenly Father all my hang ups. It feels so dark, I said--more than once. And then it occurred to me.
This was one of those times I could not rely upon the light that others put off. It was my responsibility to be the light. I could either be a weak and feeble light that could be easily swallowed up by the darkness, or I could pray for more light.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
It’s easy to for us to hide our light behind shyness, distraction and pride. It’s really easy to stash it under a bowl or a bed and cower in fear in the darkness until someone with more light comes to our rescue.
“You are the light of the world.”
Jesus didn’t say, “some are the light of the world” or “those people are the light of the world.”
Nope. You. You are the light of the world.
When it seems dark, the likely problem is that we are not putting off enough light.
When I stepped into the place that had seemed so dismal only a month before, I noticed something different. It wasn’t so smelly. It wasn’t so oppressive. It wasn’t so frightening. It wasn’t so dark.
“Your smile lights up the whole room, young lady,” one man said to me. To me?
“What was that?”
“Very nice smile.” And he moved on.
Apparently, if you ask him, God can take a feeble light and make it brilliant.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine...