Thursday, April 7, 2011

40 Days of Lint, Day Twenty-Six: Don’t Hide Your Light

My favorite camping memory is from a trip to Detroit when my girls were nine and twelve. They each brought a girlfriend and we spent more time laughing at them and their antics than anything else. The first night at the lake, we amused ourselves around the campfire until everyone was so silly and drowsy we barely had the energy to go to bed. Just as we prepared for the trek to the bathrooms we realized we’d forgotten flashlights.

One friend suggested they each carry a citronella candle to light their way to the bathroom. Off they went, weaving and giggling through camp, fragrant torches held high. The lights shone more on their mischievous faces than the path ahead, but it made for an exciting adventure. They managed to make it to the bathroom without tripping and I followed, smiling at their playfulness.

They made friends quickly at the restroom when several women asked about the citronella buckets lining the wall. The girls excitedly told them the secret of their ‘flashlights.’ Several chuckled; some were even impressed at their creative solution. I delighted in my girls and their zest for fun. Now, years later, they still share stories and sweet memories from that trip.

Sometimes, we intimidate ourselves out of sharing the light of Christ with others because we feel unprepared. In order to be a witness, we think we have to perfectly understand and practice our faith. But Jesus simply said:

“‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’ ” (Matthew 5:14-16).

And from the gospel of Luke, “‘No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light’” (Luke 11:33).

Maybe shining our light should be more like my girls and their citronella candles – when we use what’s available and do our best with a joyful heart. It’s not perfect, but it’s what we have on hand. So many times, we feel inadequate to do the job properly and hide in camp. Or, we carry our citronella candle embarrassed that our light looks different than others’. When people ask, we apologize for the light instead of rejoicing in it. But when we admit our light is imperfect and use it anyway, delighting in the adventure along the way, our Lord walks with us, enjoying our laughter and exuberance.

The point is not our presentation of the light, but to overcome the darkness with what we have.

Today, I let go the lint of embarrassment over my inadequacies. I want to shine the light I have now and joyfully walk with my Lord. When others ask about the light they see, I want to boldly proclaim Jesus. His light is not inadequate, but the way I represent Him often is. Even so, I will not hide it; so many who need God’s light are stumbling in darkness.  

Lint Removed: Hiding the Light
Cleaning Process: Share What You Have

1 comment:

  1. I love that the light from the citronella candle 'lit up their faces'! Isn't that what God's /lightlove does for us too? I am 'lit up on the inside today and I hope the smile on my face is a reflection of the light/love I'm feeling'