Last week I attended the Allume Conference. I hugged friends, went shopping, drank a lot of coffee, laughed until I cried (more than once!), and stayed up talking into the wee hours with dear hearts. I attended workshops and wept my way through keynotes, including the one by Shauna Niequist. Her words messed me up, because they reflected parts of my heart that I’d rather not see.
She talked about missing and reclaiming the girl she used to be, the silly, fun, soft, welcoming, laughing girl that had been traded for efficiency. She spoke of Jesus hospitality, real and relaxed hospitality. She said that sometimes we end up in seasons where ‘we are no longer doing what we believe.’ She said she had left behind some of the best parts of herself in order to become extremely efficient. She said so many, many things that spoke – administered – to my heart, and afterwards when I shakily introduced myself to her, I was a weepy mess who could only utter two phrases: “Thank you. That’s me. Thank you. That’s me.”
Did you know I used to be a camp counselor? And an RA in a freshman dorm? And a youth director? These jobs are not for the boring. These jobs are not for the efficient. These jobs are for people who create welcoming space, who are soft and kind, silly and brave. These jobs take light. A lightness of heart, a lightness IN our heart, and an ability to shine.Honestly, I’m not sure that I’d be hired as a camp counselor, an RA or a youth director these days. These days I am not led in light; I’ve been allowing fear to lead me and I have been heavy. I’ve been exhausted and overworked and irritable, and I’ve missed the light. I used to be light, and silly, and free. I used to dress up in costume for fun. I used to wear glitter. I used to sparkle, light effusing from my insides out.
Light = free. And friends, I have not been living free. It’s time to reclaim that light, that freedom. It’s time to step out in bold faith, trusting in the One whose name is Everlasting Light.
“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day,
nor the moon to give its light by night,
for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set;
your moon will not go down.
For the Lord will be your everlasting light.
Your days of mourning will come to an end.”
There are big ways to embrace the light, and there are little ways that add up. I’m a heavy thinker, and if I can dial the thinking back a notch, it helps calm my heart and fears. Getting outside, breathing in deep cold air, clears my head and heart. Taking risks – sending a text to a friend first, saying the hard things to family, releasing an e-book – is helpful for my cautious soul. When I am afraid to live in the light, I need support, big doses of love. I need courage to do the scary things, to embrace the Light that is in me. I need rest, to be my best and bravest self.
How do you embrace the One who is everlasting light? What big and small ways help you remember that you are indeed in the light? Because friend, whether you feel and embrace it or not, you are living in His light.