Sometimes on dark days, my first instinct is to go back to bed. But those are the days when you should let your light shine! Even the tiniest smile at the harried clerk at the grocery store can help lift a spirit. You can be that smile.
I suffer from chronic pain. Constant back pain. And there are times when I feel like nobody understands my situation. Because I am not screaming or weeping. I seem to be functioning. And when I look at others I just assume they must be ok too. Because they look like they are. They are dressed well. Their hair is combed. They are going about their lives.
The outside doesn’t always reveal what is really going on inside
However, I learned that what people look like on the outside doesn’t always represent what is really going on inside, especially when I started taking a water aerobics class for people with arthritis. My mother had told me to try it years before, but I hesitated because that would be an admission that I might be old, or need help, or worst of all look bad in a swimsuit in front of a bunch of strangers
Finally, one day I went to the YMCA and signed up. I discovered a lovely group of people, men, and women, of varying ages exercising. No one had a perfect body (including the instructor). And everyone seemed happy to be splashing about in the warm therapy pool. Some people were really old. One lady was in her late 90’s. So I figured if she could drag herself all the way to the pool and try to get some exercise – so could I.
They were letting their light shine!
After a few months of going, I started making a few friends. Once again I assumed that my pain was worse than everyone else’s because I never saw anyone complain or grimace. But soon I discovered everyone had a story. Everyone had experienced their own terrible debilitating pain. But they were pushing on. Despite the darkness in their lives, they were letting their light shine.
These lovely people were living their lives, shining their lights despite their limitations. Watching them encouraged me to push through my pain. To step out of my darkness and despair. To keep moving. To keep shining.
Unfortunately, as long as we are alive, there will be dark days. Days of disappointment, loss and pain. But a light shines brightest in the darkness. And it is exactly at those dark moments when our light is needed. A smile. A hug. A note. A word of encouragement. Even just being there to share someone’s grief can be the greatest gift we can give.
Let your light shine. And when you are too weak to shine your light, let God’s light shine through you. We all need it.
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