To Shine

earth from space

Do you ever ask yourself the question: “Am I really doing enough?” I certainly do. Here’s another question: “Am I on the right path to becoming all that I was created to be?” Maybe you’ve asked yourself that very question. I identify well with people who regularly give themselves those sorts of existential examinations. Quite frankly, not evaluating what needs to be done to be better, to shine brighter, or to achieve greater things, is very foreign to me. But, I know there are some people who are content to live a life absent of those musings. It’s easy to envy their contentment and simplicity, but it’s important to remember that one style of thinking isn’t better than another.

I think we’re all created for something; we’re built for a purpose. Some of us end up achieving greatness in the eyes of many and others achieve greatness in the eyes of just a few. But not everyone gets there. It takes hard work, determination, resolve, and risk to arrive at that place. And there are moments when even that’s not enough. I do know that living a small, uninspired life won’t cut it. Boldness is required. Sometimes, people are rewarded with fame and fortunate and other times the aren’t. But the accolades aren’t all that important, being the children of God we were created to be is.

There’s a quote by Marianne Williamson that communicates it well:

“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’s 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’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So when I contemplate the question of whether or not I’m doing enough, perhaps there’s something better to be asked. Maybe pursuing  the right path to the ultimate purpose of a life isn’t about the measurements of what’s achieved, built, or procured. Maybe it’s much more elegant. That hard work, risk taking, and inspired living are far more important especially when it involves God’s loving embrace. Ultimately we all know that we will achieve something… but that path we take is what determines whether something ends up being ordinary or extraordinary.

My challenge is to stop quantifying my efforts to live a meaningful life in terms of whatever inadequate scale I could invent. Assessing their qualitative values is far more important. After all, a shining light will brighten a dark room regardless of its strength. I need to remember that enlightened living knows no scale just as God’s love knows no bounds. It’s time to begin concentrating on being present with the moment because that’s where freedom lies. Then, and only then, can we be happy with our answers to our most radical existential questions.

I first heard the quote you see above through a video called “Our Deepest Fear.” It was too good to not share in conjunction with this post, so please check it out and enjoy.

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