Monday, June 7, 2010

Playing Large

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (a quote mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela in his inaugural address, but instead was written by Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love, p 188-189.)

This isn't the first I've read this quote nor will it be the last. Each and every time I read it, I'm convicted and stirred by it, but I've just never taken the time to consider why exactly it does. It amazes me that I've always thought it best to shrink back, to downplay certain aspects of myself so others wouldn't be insecure. But I'm finally seeing and realizing more that most of my life is lived in fear, particularly fear of what others think. Could it be that God shines His light through a confident me, rather than a shrinking away me? I wonder how many of us play small because we think that's more holy and acceptable. Traditionally I think many of us have been taught that humility means glorifying our weaknesses so we don't upset anyone else's strengths. Yes, there is a place (an important, rudimentary place) for humility, but there is also a confidence that feeds true humility. It's a confidence that comes from knowing glory rests inside us like a gift. If God has given us such an amazing gift as light, power, joy and a renewed, redeemed life, why do I/we hide like His gifts are things to be ashamed of? Glory, God's glory, resides in my heart. I don't know about you, but I'm stirred to play large. Playing small is living a tentative, fearful life, and personally I'd rather play large, risk being misunderstood, so that more glory for Him will flow out of me, not less.