Light Shine Bright: Get Out of Your Own Shadow

By Megan Holdren

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In this amazing series, you have been hearing from women talking about ways to let your "Light Shine" as the Bible tells us, in our modern world. How to be the beautiful city on the hill, be the brightest light to light the night, and how to weave the complications of the dark web we have grown to call social media.

I want to talk about getting out of your own way, how not to be the basket the Bible talks about that covers the light, not only to other people but to yourself, don't cover up your own light.

“And you will be the light to guide the Nations.” (Isaiah 42:6)

Too often we get in our own way, BONO even wrote a song about it, “Get out of your own way.” It's clearly a world-wide issue, if Bono is putting the message to lyrics on the top 40 list. The most obvious way we are in our own way is Social Media. We get in our own way with “oops” posts. Things we didn't think all the way through, that once we give it more thought, or in many instances the next morning when your head isn't quite as foggy, we immediately take down. However, there is no deleting the post from people's memory once they have seen it. Worse yet, there is a perma data trail linked to that post. Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg for being so efficient!

Many of us using social media have not fully understood the impact the Facebook leaks mean to our personal information. Did you know employers have access to posts from your social media feed for as long as you have had a data imprint? Individuals looking to market toward a grouping or sway the mass' ideologies have access to all information about you, right down to where you were and what you are doing. As well as what you looked at on social media every time you were active on sites such as facebook.

I own two business where I'm at a point that I can hire new people. I have also been on the other side of the interview table many times. Employers, including myself, look to social media first and foremost before hiring anyone. Employers look at your social media feed, the type of photos your posting and the commentary. The corporate office I worked for in the past turned away and let go many people for racy photos and slanderous posts. How can an employer take you seriously when you live out this “other life” on social media? To me that is a red flag, how could one decipher the "real you?" The "you on social media" versus the "you that shows up to the office?" The root question that I want to get to is, "Why did we start having 'two' of us?"

In the Holdren household, NFL Draft is a big day. Spitting and yelling at the television and intense emotions, phone calls to football friends, it's crazy sauce!  Not me of course, I'm usually reading a book and lending a supportive nod to my husband’s excitement. However, this year a particular story caught my attention. There is this kid, Josh Allen, from Wyoming. He wound up being 7th in the first round draft pick, but that's not the story everyone was talking about. The kid is 21 years old and on the largest stage of his career about to be drafted to the NFL. The commentators are not highlighting his athletic ability or his leadership talents, they are talking about a post to social media from when he was 16 years old, containing bad language and racial slurs. The commentators state how teams are hesitant to choose him, what would bringing him on do to the locker room dynamic? As he accepts his jersey, from the Buffalo Bills, the biggest moment of his life to this point, what is he asked about? The dang social media post! How embarrassing! He just accomplished a monumental feat, and there he is stuck talking about a post he made in his past. Does this directly represent who he is now? Heck no! So why did he post it allowing the opportunity to be measured on a national stage by it?

Are you asking yourself right now, if you were to be interviewed on a national stage, what would the media ask you about? What things that YOU posted about yourself in the past be scrutinized?  Y'all, though you may not think the world is watching, the world is watching you.

We allow social media  to take over as an alter ego, a different life, like the Avatar movie. I once had a girl tell me that, “Of course social media isn't real, people will never put their real lives on there because no one wants to see that!” Then she took it a step further and said, “Anyone that looks at social media and the influencers on there, and actually is influenced by them, as if it were their real life, have no business being on social media.” Hold the phone! Is not an influencer by definition an individual who has the power to affect decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience? That being said, when was the last time you looked at the influencers that are influencing your life and asked yourself, what is their authority or knowledge that allows them to influence my life? Clearly, this standpoint has a counterfeit view of reality, that is being mirrored through social media. This at the very core is totally against every fiber God has mapped out for us to be. There is not one verse in the Bible that says to portray a smaller, slightly-swayed version of you to others. Why? Because that's misleading, or in other words a lie. Pretty sure that's the 9th commandment, don't be a false witness. Don't be a false witness to yourself or about yourself.

A false witness is exactly who the enemy is, it's who he has been from the beginning. He deceives, steals and destroys.

Luke 8:17, "For all that is secret will eventually be brought to the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to the light and made known to everyone."

Get out of your own way! Do not be the basket that covers the light. When you portray altered versions of yourself or post pictures that are not the true you or are distorted view of yourself, YOU are allowing the enemy to cover you up and manipulate the true light God placed inside of you and who He is calling you to be. I can guarantee that the moment you post this “real” image of who you changed yourself to be is about the same time that you will start to get criticized by others. Am I right? When you are NOT truly being the real version of you on social media, isn’t it the same time when people are throwing out negativity your way? (You have to be honest with yourself with this question!) Now don't get me wrong, I’m not saying you need to smear your whole fight with your husband on social media because that's real, but is a picture of you cropped and edited, revealing the real you? What is the intent behind the post? To get more 'likes' or to shine a light for someone that day?

Psalm 132:17 states, "Here I will increase the power of David; my anointed one with the light of my people."

This verse is the "you" God named you to be. You ARE the descendant of David, there is nothing more beautiful and glorious than this version of you. You are anointed with the LIGHT of God's people. Being the real you can be scary, trust me I know, I’m me. But think of it like this; Luke 12:7 says; "And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered." Meaning He knows you’re freaking weird! Thank you, Jesus! Stop posting images, sayings, and outfits that are like the girl’s feed right before you, it's boring! The real you is so much more interesting and intriguing. That's the "you" we can relate to because it's the LIGHT of God shining through you, the same light we have inside us. Don't you think that if He created this “weirdo” AKA "you," He would have created a space for you to flourish in? If you are saying, "Yes!" You are correct! You ARE made to fit in and be popular, in HIS Kingdom. Start setting your acceptability standard to God’s, as opposed to the masses. You will have much more success that way. Keep on being the REAL you homie, keep on being the light, we all need help seeing the way when our batteries in our flashlights burn out or flicker.