A Risk Worth Taking--or at Least Considering?
I've given these words of Marianne Williamson a great deal of thought and consideration over the past few years. They've had a tremendous impact on how I'm experiencing my life, who I'm becoming, and the effect I'm able to have on those within my sphere of influence. They've led me to really ponder about what it is that I have to offer the world, and whether my not believing in myself, my playing small, might actually be an act of selfishness. A radical idea? Perhaps. Or maybe a flash of inspiration. Her words have led me to seriously think about--and even pray about--what my gifts are, what I'm meant to do with them, how this might give greater meaning to my life, and even bring greater joy to myself and others.
So often I think what we're really afraid of is that we might be successful, and that we won't know how to handle it, so we're afraid to give it our all. At least I think that's been true for me. But the truth is, as children of God, every one of us has all we need within us, and sometimes we just need to learn to trust in ourselves a little more.
When I began to have faith that I actually had the ability within me to receive the inspiration I needed for my own life, for my own problems--that I no longer needed to look to someone else to validate me and give me the answers--a huge shift began to take place within me. Suddenly, a whole new world of self worth and belief in myself opened up! With a new confidence in myself, I became freed from reliance on others thoughts, opinions and solutions. Now, when I would reach out to those I knew could help me, it was in a completely different way than I had previously, finally seeing them as consultants and not as saviors.
I think it was then that I began to really start to be able make a difference in my world and have a more significant positive impact on those around me. I believe that's what Marianne Williamson means later in this quote when she says that by letting our light shine, we give others permission to do the same.
You've probably heard it before, but here's the whole quote: "“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, A Return to Love
I would invite us to give these words some serious thought. To call on our courage. To take just one step outside our comfort zone, and then another, and then another, just one little step at a time. To reach deep inside ourselves and discover the strength and beauty and light that is ALREADY there, just waiting to be accessed and nurtured and shared with others. Each time we do something to stretch ourselves, our comfort zone then grows to accommodate this new, higher version of ourselves. We don't have to take a big, terrifying leap (although sometimes that first baby step may feel that way--and that's okay). Growth happens little by little. Sometimes it's almost imperceptible, but that doesn't make it any less real. It takes a long time for an acorn to become a mighty oak. Over time, you will see the rewards of your efforts.
And who knows? You just might find that light within you growing brighter as you give it space to grow. And as you share it. You just might find it illuminating your OWN life a little more. Just maybe, you'll find that as your example gives a little more courage to others, and as THEIR lights begin to shine a little brighter, that the world begins to be a brighter place, the ripples spread outward, and you find yourself experiencing a little more JOY and PURPOSE. The cumulative effects can be profound!
Every effort we make to allow our light shine today, however small, (and however scary) can make a difference for us and for the people around us, and I believe that's a risk worth taking!