Some time ago I penciled in my calendar the words Women’s Conference for February 3 and 4. A trusted friend invited me to attend. I didn’t fully understand what I signed up for, but I figured a Women’s Conference was something I could benefit from. IF:Gathering was just what my weary, worn-out self needed.
It was time to fill back up.
One important lesson I’ve learned in my years on this journey is every now and then we each could use a little filling back up. We give and give and give some more. We pour out into our families, our relationships, our careers, our passions, our ministries, the world, and if we aren’t careful, we can soon run dry and have nothing left to pour out. I’ve been there. Have you??
IF:Gathering filled me back up.
I sat in the audience with my friends as my heart quickly filled to overflowing. It was refreshing, truth-filled, and uplifting. From the stories, the teachings, and the truths shared, I left the conference encouraged, hopeful, and walking closer with Jesus.
But, the question I’ve been asking myself ever since is this:
Am I blending in with the rest of this world, or do I stand out and let the light of Jesus shine through me?
I like to blend in. It’s a comfortable place. Blending in draws less attention to myself. When I blend in I become invisible, unnoticeable, and hidden. But, to stand out is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where people see what I do, hear what I say, read what I write, and learn about Who and what I believe in. You know, it can be distressing, awkward, and downright scary to stand out. Especially when I stand out for Jesus in a world where many refuse Him.
I want to blend in, but I’m called to stand out.
Not only was I personally challenged in this during IF:Gathering, but it also met me in church the very next morning. Wouldn’t you know, the sermon was about the very same subject… being visible for Jesus in this world.
Read with me Matthew 5:14-16 from The Voice translation.
And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.
Friend, what if we dared enough to shine the light within us, His light, everywhere we went? In the grocery store. At the break room table. In the classroom. In the carpool. Behind the steering wheel. Everywhere.
What if we allowed His light to spread so others could experience its warmth, its comfort, and its strength? What if we helped illumine the lives of our friends and family? Our coworkers and classmates? Our acquaintances and strangers?
It’s okay to stand out when we shine His light.
After all, that’s when Jesus appears in the forefront and we fade into the background.
I want my life to be like that. I want to shine so bright that people don’t see me, but they see Him, instead. This isn’t something I can naturally do on my own, but with His help, strength, and guidance, He’ll equip me to do so.
What’s that hymn from my childhood??
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Shine away, friend!
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