Let your light shine

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Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:16

Its not about whose lights shines the brightest in the worldly sense, or who is the most talented and able, because if that were so God would have created only a few people, and that would mean that God is not fair in the way He creates people, but beauty and talent in God’s eyes are gifts that we should use to glorify Him and not ourselves… The world makes us feel that beauty, talent and skills are comparitive, in other words there is a certain rigid hierarchy in place which cannot be budged and only those who have ‘it’ are qualified to get the world’s praise and admiration, the rest of us are just ordinary people who have to fashion a life steeped in the mundane and the dull. A life of that nature will make you question the very meaning of life itself. I know many many people who have gone all their lives believing that they are not as good as they think they are merely because no one has ever acknowledged them publicly and personally, believe me your ability in something is not a one day thing, it takes a lifetime to truly become great and good at something, to become a specialist in a field… and often work fulfills a need.

I have this friend, and he’s this young guy that I met at the court and I look at him like a little brother, and I enjoy his youthful spirit, there is so much enthusiasm and hunger that I observe in Him that I can see parts of me in him, when I was growing up I was so devoured by the thought of proving myself to others who seldom chose to acknowledge me that I had no time to spend on anything else… I day dreamt and fantasized about revenge in the right form, I worked very hard to prove that I belonged, to prove that I too was worth something… work that was almost always never acknowledged, I realized then that people’s hearts and minds are not in our control… but over time it became more of a personal challenge than proving to them per se and I was able to live that way, but right now I can find a reflection of that same hunger in him which alarms me… since I know how long it took to resolve that part of my nature in my own life, and I also know personally the deep anger that I carried around in my heart during that time. He shares my passion for this game that I love with my whole heart and which I am dangerously passionate about and which often times makes me forget my responsibilities as a Christian and as a disciple of Christ.

Coming back to my friend, since He has not had much success in it he tends to be too hard on himself, in his mind others are always better, and this further breaks his heart. To make matters worse, there are not much people who have encouraged him in his life, the people who are at home from what I can discern often take out their anger on him, and dump all sorts of toxic and poisonous things that have over time made him lose faith in his parents and has also become his internal voice. When I was in college the basketball court was my refuge away from the shallow world that I lived around, on the court I could be a hundred percent true to who I was in my heart, I did not have to force or pretend to be someone that I was not… The game was my only friend for many years. Looking back I don’t know if I did all the right things, I just did enough to survive. I lived two completely opposite lives and this totally irritated me since I place too much value on being honest and sincere.

He has grown so accustomed to negativity that its a huge struggle to find hope and to even focus on things that he loves, because he keeps hearing their voices all the time.. deeply disturbing and discouraging him. Since he is young very often he is not accepted immediately into the main games owing to his size and age. What my friend often forgets out there on the court is that everyone is just like him in certain ways, that they too are playing for titles, for status, for importance and wins, they have something to prove as well. He is too young to be aware of things like personality, about how the people there can often be dismissive since they wish to dominate or be known a certain way even if the whole experience lasts only for a couple of hours. Our lives in our hearts are so radically different, the outer part of us conforms to the ideals of personality, of social well-being, whereas deep in our hearts our deepest pains are often caused by simple things such as a lack of acceptance, a failure to extend grace or being too egoistic. And there are so many people like this in plain sight that we often meet or come across, we have become so desensitized that is feels worthless to even make an effort, because we feel that our efforts would be fruitless.

God on the other hand sees things differently, God has this ability of taking complete failures, losers and people whom nobody cared for into wonderful people whose light shines from within… Beauty fades with age, talent for all its splendor runs away as quick as time, opportunities come and seem to vanish in the twinkling of an eye, status often times turns fickle and finds somebody else to become interested in, Friends come and go, and often times your deepest hurts can come from people that you trusted and cared for with a very sincere love… success is not a given all the time, and if you are successful you have to constantly deal with jealousy, envy and chase some unrealistic end… In all certainty you will lose whatever you once held very deeply to. That’s life, I am not trying to sound negative, this is something that normally happens to everyone.

God gave us all talents, and it is written in the Bible that we are all responsible for what we were given.. Let your own light shine, don’t feel down that there are a million other people who seem more talented and better than you, doing that is not going to help you in anyway… That’s the devil telling you that you are no good and that your life is of no worth… The entire world echoes that sentiment… on the contrary there cannot be a bigger lie than that, you were created for another world… This life is just a passage…God thought that you were so precious and valuable that He gave His own son to die on the cross for your sins and mine… So that we could all become one big family, yes when you accept God into your life, you end up becoming a part of His family. Can you even imagine that…? His Family…!! The God who sculpted the intricate details of all the known world, the master artist, the voice who can calm the massive waves of the deep oceans, the being who can love you like you have never been loved… A being who can love you so outrageously that the love of a parent or a girlfriend or boyfriend pales in comparison.

There is so much to life that you have never opened your eyes to.. and its predictable.. We are so often caught up in our own world, our own feelings that we fail to realize that all the glamorous things are mere illusions, that chasing them is very unhealthy… don’t they all fade away with the oppression of everyday ordinariness…? The dullness of reality, the great sting to all dreamers and fantasizers worldwide…, there is so much more to life that can never be found by you, and that’s why it is highly important to know someone who does, and that person is God… I have read many psychological books and almost all of them try to provide the ultimate answers to life’s most devastating absolutes, the questions that no relative truths can ever fully answer… I have read that attachment is an emotional hijacker, I have read that excess often saturates, I have read that peace comes from within.. while all of these answers make rational sense and it is important to be wise and discerning , they are not God’s answers, God wants you to be attached to Him, God wants you all to Himself, God is totally the opposite of what the world warns about. God wants you to lean on Him and at the same time He wants to make you grow, He will reward your faith with supernatural blessings( His peace), with spiritual wealth( knowledge, fruits and gifts of the spirit, rootedness), a depth to your personality and a new identity.

The world would want to make you into a good human being, who loved and lived within boundaries to all the people who agreed with your belief systems. But God on the contrary wants you to be like Him, He wants you to be like Christ for all who come into your path, He wants you to see how desperate souls are for the Master’s touch, How poor we are that we turn away the only cure that can heal and save…?

Life is about so much more than being good at something, Life is about finding your own path and growing in it, about finding God and having this wonderful and beautiful relationship with Him, about learning how to pray and developing the discipline necessary for it, about having an everyday walk with the Master, about making Him your friend and asking Him to teach you how to live and asking Him to teach you how to love your parents, your peers and your enemies, about extending kindness even when we don’t feel compelled to, about having integrity even when there’s no one watching, having values, about extending acceptance and friendship to those that the world seldom acknowledges, about bestowing compassion on all fellow beings, about respecting people who are very different from you, Sharing God’s love and message to as many souls as you can find and being who God created you to be… God did not make copies of you did He…? That’s right, you are special and extremely valuable in God’s sight, it will only take God opening your eyes for you to know that in your heart… God had something in mind when He made you, and you have to walk closely with Him in order for you find out. The Bible tells you that you don’t have to figure it all out, God knows what you are capable of being, don’t rely on some interesting psychological technique that promises to take you past all the hurdles of your present life, Rely on God and He will take you much further than any other system or belief.

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