By Meghan Gates
“Be yourself!” “Let your light shine!” “Show the world who God made you to be!” Encouraging words of authenticity are flooding the internet at the moment, and I’m loving every minute of it. The air is shifting to be more uplifting and accepting of others. The pressure to be people that we aren’t made to be is slowly starting to lift. We’re starting to cheer on the genuine. We’re looking for those God-given talents and gifts instead of a make-believe Instagram life. We want to see how God’s children truly live their lives, but sometimes we get stuck when that light is shown into our own lives. I believe that all of us want to be able to show our hearts; there aren’t many out there that flat-out don’t want to let people see who they are. It’s easy to be a cheerleader and encourage people to be who they are, but it’s a different story when the spotlight is shown into your own life. Letting your light shine is easier said than done sometimes. Putting yourself out there makes you vulnerable, and that can cause a very uneasy feeling. What if people don’t like that person on the inside? What if some denounce your faith? What if who you really are contradicts the image you’ve always been portraying? These are all valid concerns, but I’m here to tell you that being praised for something you’re not doesn’t even compare to living out the person that God created you to be.
Moving into your true self allows you to shine, just as God intended you to. As His daughter, we are called to let our lights be shown! When the world throws layer upon layer of hurt, pressure, comparison, etc. on top of your light, it begins to dim. How can we our best warrior for the kingdom of God with muffled spirits? When we can successfully strip off those layers and keep them off, our true selves are shown. Depending on how many layers we have been suffocated by over the years, prying them off could potentially be a lengthy, but necessary process. I’m not talking about a simple bandaid healing; I’m talking about penetrating-the-depths-of-your-soul healing.
Anyone can fake happiness and come across as being perfect. In my experience, the girls who appear to have their lives all together aren’t the ones that bring light into my life. It’s the girls who have pasts. It’s the individuals that have been hurt and have allowed Christ to tenderly restore their hearts. It’s the ones that can not only admit their weakness, but cherish their weaknesses because they know God shows Himself strong in those areas. It’s the girls that are willing to share their testimonies because they know it’ll bless someone out there. I am far more drawn to real and raw than perfect. When we can achieve true, deep healing, we can shine with our testimonies. God uses us to bless others with the stories of His great healing process through our lives. If we are closed off to Christ and the promise of His healing, what light do we have to show?
Now you might be thinking, “but Meghan, how do I even begin the healing process?” This might not be the answer you want to read, but crack open your Bible. A lot of times people expect God to come into their hearts and feel a huge, overwhelming sensation of happiness and then you know that your soul is at peace all at once. Then you’re healed. YAY! Except 95% of the time, it doesn’t work like that. Healing takes true time spent with Jesus, in God’s Word. It takes effort on our part, but the reward is unrivaled. Once we begin to let Jesus strip away those layers of hurt, trauma, brokenness, and suffering, we are able to meet ourselves right where we are. That produces the light. Your light will be revealed and you’ll be able to better step into the marvelous destiny that God has for your life.
With all of that being said, you don’t have to feel 100% restored from the hurt in order to shine. Yes, it’s a process. Yes, there are sometimes roadblocks. But claiming the identity of “damaged” is simply an avenue for the enemy to try to dim your light. We are not broken creatures; we are daughters of the Lord Most High. You are healed and whole because Christ is within you. And if Christ is within you, then there is light. Once you accept that healing and invite Jesus to work on your heart, the light is there. Therefore, seek the Creator and all of His promises will enter your life, including the promise of restoration. Once you kick-start your healing process, don’t be afraid to be yourself! Our lights are the only things on earth that are battling the darkness, and we always need more of it. Invite the healing, shine your light, and watch the world change.
“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” Luke 8:16