Bright Light Living is about my a-ha moment. Sometimes you can hear or see something repeatedly, but it just doesn’t register – I mean truly register – until you are ready to receive its true, impactful meaning . . .
I am a middle child who lived a middle-class type of life. My mother raised me to be content and thankful for what I had. As she would say, “There will always be people who have more than you, but there will always be people who have less than you. Be thankful for what you have.”
I took that to heart.
Christmases as a young girl often involved my friends and I going to each other’s houses to inspect Santa’s generosity. We were always excited about the new loot and eager to share each other’s toys. Many times I would hide some of my toys. Not because I didn’t want to share, but because I didn’t want to show off. To me, it seemed as if Santa had favored me more abundantly with gifts and I didn’t want my friends feeling badly.
I hid my gifts.
I am the middle child surrounded by two brothers. Being the only girl meant that I was different than them—more emotional. They would tell me that I was too sensitive. They would tell me not to be such a girl, to stop crying.
I saw my sensitivity as a downfall.
I was average in a lot of things, but not exceptional in anything. I made the National Honor Society, played sports, was a cheerleader, was in school plays, and had friends. Somehow I always seemed to “make” whatever I tried out for. But, I was never the Most of anything. I was not Valedictorian (or even close), not Most Popular (or even close), not Best Looking (or even close), not a sports MVP (or even close). . .you get it, I was a great all-around (average) person. I took that to heart.
I accepted my average status.
I would be in the company of intellects and feel inferior, remaining quiet because I didn’t feel as if I had anything of value to contribute. I would hear stories of my friends who were making more money or had more prestigious jobs and I would remind myself that I was not in it for the money.
I felt less than.
My parents passed down to me many of their great qualities; I consider myself a good (average) mix of both of them.
My father was an engineer for NASA who received his doctorate from George Washington University. He passed to me his strategic thinking and organizational skills, but unfortunately not his exceptional brain. My mother was a top sales leader in Mary Kay; she is now a well-respected life coach. She exudes positivity and charisma; people are and were always drawn to her. She passed along to me her positivity, creativity, and belief in goodness. If only she passed to me her charisma.
I paled in their shadows.
That is my early story.
We all have one. A story of what shapes our belief systems and perceptions of who we are and what we think the world has to offer. Our early stories are often what sets our perimeters and establishes our limitations—our self-imposed limitations. For me, it was the limitation that I was good enough to feel like a fraud, so therefore I was never great enough. My perimeters dictated that I should always try things, but only with small expectations of success. I expected average success.
“This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine.”
I had two favorite songs from my early Sunday school days. The first: “We Are One in the Spirit” and the second: “This Little Light of Mine.”
Both songs shaped my belief system and influenced who I wanted to be. I wanted to be an example. I believed in being kind to everyone so that they could see God’s love through me. I would let myself shine in that regard. I would shine in goodness . . . but not greatness.
Fast-forward to a few years ago. . . I was driving to work and “This Little Light of Mine” for some reason popped into my head. I started singing it. I then reached for a notebook given to me by my mother. The book opened up to a poem my mother had placed inside by Marianne Williamson—Our Deepest Fear. I was familiar with the poem, but had not given it the credence it deserved until that morning. That morning, her words touched my heart and resonated with my soul. In a nutshell, her poem tells us not to dim our lights. As she writes, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
It was in that moment – when two reminders of SHINING OUR LIGHT came to me almost simultaneously – that I truly understood. That was my A-ha moment.
God does not want us playing small or average. He wants us to shine bright. He wants us to be confident, full of belief and hope; to live without fear or limitations. He wants us to soar.
We are not hurting others by being great, wonderful, and fabulous. Instead, we are blessing those around us. It is this light that attracts.
I had not been living the best version of me. I was holding back, allowing childhood perceptions to dim my light.
This A-ha moment – my moment of clarity – adjusted my view of who I was and how I should live my life:
I was someone who was grateful and appreciated the good in things.
I realized that hiding my gifts and talents was not only hindering me but others as well.
My sensitivity is a blessing allowing me to be intuitive, insightful, and compassionate.
I am a risk taker who tries things; someone who has the fortitude to pick myself up and learn from my failures.
I am my own unique person. What I am is enough.
We are all enough. It is up to each of us to believe in and truly take to heart the truth of that statement. Rather than holding ourselves back because we feel inferior, not smart or qualified enough, too loud, too sensitive—too much or not enough—we must amp up our light rather than dim it.