When I was six or seven years old, my church had a women’s missionary conference. Under the leadership of our Sunday school teachers, my friends and I stood on stage with battery-operated candles and sang “This Little Light of Mine” for the attendees. I don’t remember being particularly scared or shy about this performance; in fact, I’m pretty sure my friends and I had quite a bit of fun.
You won’t catch me doing that now. Singing in front of people, that is. Or really, doing anything in front of people. I’d rather be behind the scenes and under the radar, because I have convinced myself (for reasons too manifold and complex to address here) that the less people see of me or hear from me the better.
That’s not what God says. In fact, at the beginning of this year, God told me I was done flying under the radar. And He has made good on that, sometimes pushing me, sometimes coaxing me into being seen and heard. He says, day in and day out, “It’s time.”
I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. (Isaiah 42:6-7 NIV)
He said to me, You are my servant…In whom I will display my splendor. (Isaiah 49:3 NIV)
Awake, awake, Zion! Clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor. (Isaiah 52:1a NIV)
Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your settlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. (Isaiah 54:11-12 NIV)
Arise! Shine! For your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the people’s, but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar and your daughters are carried on the hip. Then you will look and be radiant. (Isaiah 60:1-5a NIV)
You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14a, 16 NIV)
Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. (Ephesians 5:14 NIV)
I’ve spent time mourning and healing from the things over which I went into hiding to begin with. I remember singing, “Won’t let Satan proof it out,” and I know that’s exactly what ended up happening, and so I’ve mourned the lost, dark years.
Admittedly, I’m still a bit resistant to shining. I worry that people will think I’m doing it for attention and they’ll end up resenting me.
Just last night we were having a discussion at Bible study, and I had some thoughts that I nearly kept to myself because I honestly didn’t think what I had to say was that important. If my pew buddy hadn’t raised her hand and pointed at me, I would have kept my mouth shut.
Tonight, I could and maybe even should be at choir rehearsal, but I don’t think I have anything to contribute.
Someone recently gave me a bigger vision of my teaching gift than I’ve been considering, and I automatically dismissed it.
Right now, I’m still the smoking flax of Isaiah 42. But make no mistake, I’ll be white dwarf by the time God is done with me.