Updated: Jan 14, 2022
By Rev. René François
You are a remarkably and wonderfully made masterpiece created in the image of God. Within you, God has placed a light that is meant to shine. However, we can sometimes get so caught up in trying to fit in and in wanting to be liked by everybody that we actually end up dimming our light so as not to outshine others. We tell ourselves “it’s okay to shine, but not too brightly” for fear that if we perform up to our true potential some people will perceive us as being arrogant or “uppity.” It is a flawed way of thinking that cuts across racial and gender lines. It tends to be prevalent in environments that are dominated by insecure people. This can occur in personal relationships or professional environments. It is a dysfunctional way of thinking that develops out of the fear that we won’t be liked if we allow our God-given excellence to shine brightly. We worry that people will think “Who does he think he is?” Or, “Who does she think she is?”
I have personally experienced this in my own life. At one point in time I found myself in a work environment with an insecure leader where I felt as though I had to dial it back, so-to-speak. I actually dimmed my light of excellence, which means I was performing below my potential in order to not “ruffle feathers.” But, in the words of the great Zig Ziglar, that was “Stinkin’ Thinkin!” It’s a flawed mindset because people who are insecure and jealous of others are going to be insecure and jealous regardless of your actions. The way in which they interact with the world stems from a poor self image. They will be displeased with your confidence and success because deep down inside, they are displeased with themselves. In situations like this, the healthiest thing that we can do for ourselves is to make peace with the fact that we are not going to win with everyone. But, then, our purpose on this earth is not to make everybody like us. Rather, it is to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It may also be helpful to remember that not everyone liked Jesus either. He didn’t win with everyone (and he was perfect)! So, if you find yourself having to deal with haters, take heart, you’re in good company.
I really like Marianne Williamson’s reflection entitled “Our deepest fear.” In it she wrote “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.” The Bible says that we are remarkably and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), we are God’s handiwork—God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), and that we are created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26). Our spirits are meant to shine!
In Luke 11:33, Jesus said "No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. The light within us isn’t meant to be hidden under a “bushel” (basket). We are here for a purpose! That purpose is indeed to make manifest the glory of God that is within us and to not be timid about demonstrating the strength and confidence that comes from our faith and from knowing who we are in Christ. The light that Jesus talks about shines brightest when we are living examples of the Gospel, advancing the mission that we were called to fulfill on this earth. And, hopefully, in the process of living out our life’s purpose, we can each have a small part in making the world a better place. All-to-often we’re overly concerned with what other people think about us. We must never suppress the greatness that God has placed within us for fear of what our detractors may think of our confidence or our competence. When we are solidly grounded in our faith, there is a light that radiates from the very core of our being. Never allow yourself to be defined by someone else's limited vision of who they think you are or who they want you to be. Boldly own the space that you occupy in this world. You are a child of the Most High.! So, crank up the flame that God has placed within your spirit and let it shine brightly! Amen.🕊
If you liked this message, be sure to "like" it. Also, if you’ve been holding back, what are you going to do to let YOUR light shine? By all means share your thoughts. Leave a comment. I guarantee your words will be a blessing to someone else.
—Rev. René François
Rev. René François is a chaplain at Providence Little Company Of Mary Medical Centers, Torrance, CA. & San Pedro, CA. He also provides spiritual care to hospice patients throughout Southern California. Rev. René is also founder of #ReneFrancoisLovingLifeMinistries.