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I’m really excited to share some words with you from my dear friend, Karyn. She worked at Imago Dei in Portland, and was one of the contributors at The Illumination Project filming last summer. Karyn wrote this piece about light for my church a while back—I hope it brings some illumination to your day as well.
When you study theater, one of the earliest and most essential lessons you learn is how to find your light.
Stages are distracting, gut-dropping, shadowy spaces, and the key to communicating effectively to your audience…
– the key to being seen –
…is to learn to keep your cool and recognize the warmth of a spotlight on your forehead, to pinpoint the way the shadows shift when your face is framed and you become fabulously, sparklingly visible, and to step into that space as often and as boldly as you possibly can.
I’m good at finding my light.
In fact, if there’s a spotlight anywhere nearby, you can be sure I’ve noticed it, recorded it’s location in my secret self promotion file I keep somewhere behind my “humility” and “servants heart.”
I’ve probably tiptoed into it when you weren’t looking, just to absorb a little glory.
You’d better believe I hear that shiny beacon’s siren call, and it isn’t just when I feel the need to burst into a dramatic monologue. I hear it at work. I hear it in my marriage. I hear it at dinner parties, at art openings, on Facebook…
– like me! Look at me! See me!
Here’s the thing about spotlights, though: they’re fickle. They’re an illusion. They’re a promise that never delivers.
Finding my own light, stepping into my own idea of glory, it’s attractive and lovely and warm, but it’s hollow. When I’m bent on using my gifts to get the most attention possible, I’m fighting a ridiculous battle.
My name in lights is incredibly unreliable, incredibly empty – I can only bask in the artificial glow until the bulbs burn out, until the flame dies down and is extinguished.
Real victory comes in the shadows.
When the futile spotlights fade, when I acknowledge my darkness, when I’m willing to die to self and set aside my ambition and my pride, I’m invited to stand with my Creator in a galaxy drawn by the Father of the holiest, most irresistible lights. And that light?
That light is so worth the abandonment of my plans, my ideas, my self-importance.
That light is the reflection of a God who became flesh, who placed His infinite beauty into finite pieces, into cells of skin and bones and heart that were mocked, dismissed, tortured, and tossed aside. A God who joins me in the mud of my selfishness and pride and links my name to His, offers me a place in His kingdom,
…lights me up with the warmth of His grace.
My God entered into my darkness, that I might stand with Him in His light.
Is it ever hard for you to surrender the spotlight to someone else? Why?
Think back to a time when you’ve experienced “victory in the shadows.” What was that like for you?________________________________________________
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.