I was just about to finish one of the hardest weekends of my life. I had given it my all, opened myself up to strangers turned family, yet there was still one thing I hadn’t come to terms with.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
As I began to read these words out loud, tears streamed down my face.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?
I’m the oldest of two. Growing up, I took the role of a big sister quite seriously. I made sure to behave in school, obey my mom and dad, participate in church–you know, set an example and pave the road for my brother to follow. Before you start thinking my brother did the exact opposite, let me stop you right there because he wasn’t. He did all of those things as well, he was just different than me.
He’s an extrovert and a male. I’m an introvert and a female. We express many things in very different ways and I used to hold these things against him. I thought because he was more outgoing, something was obviously wrong with me. NEWSFLASH: there wasn’t. But as with most siblings, I began to compare myself a lot to my brother. He wanted to be a doctor. I was awful at science. He played varsity sports. I played JV. He won Prom King. I didn’t. His name was in the local newspaper multiple times. Mine wasn’t. He could learn music by ear. I learned music by struggling through reading music. He could play guitar. I could scrape by. He dated a lot. I very much did not. I went to a private, Christian college. He did not. The list goes on and on.
Instead of celebrating these differences, I let them become a wedge in our relationship. And it wasn’t just him, I would compare myself to many other people in my life.
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
During this time of great insecurity of finish college and figuring out what to do with my life, I really began questioning what my purpose was. It seemed like everything was working out for everyone around me with husbands/wives, new jobs and new places to live and I, I was well, stuck.
I can recall moments, where people acknowledged this beautiful, full of heart young woman for who she really was, but I never believed it myself. For years, I had been afraid to be myself because I didn’t want to outshine those around me. I knew what that felt like and I didn’t ever want to cause those same resenting feelings in someone else. All the while, not realizing how soul sucking it was to not by myself.
What I didn’t realize was in the midst of this comparison and uncertainty, God had been molding me into this strong, powerful work of art. It was only after I was almost complete with this weekend, did I start to get a glimpse of what so many others had seen for years.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
When you think about it, there’s no real manual for you to read through on how to accept yourself and accept who God has created you to be. It’s something that can be painful, beautiful, full of life and great experiences, but it’s something you, as an individual, have to experience and learn on your own. It’s wonderful to have people who love and support you to be on that journey with you, but only you can accept who you are.
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.
As I finished reading this quote from Marianne Williamson, tears were freely falling down my face, my heart was so full. It was as if this quote was meant exactly for me at that time. What makes this entire situation that much more powerful, is realizing that God created all of us differently in our own unique ways. If we were all the same, there wouldn’t be a reason for us to share experiences or even life together, because we would all experience it the same way. Our differences create connection. Without a doubt. Take the time to get to know someone even if they’re different from you, you might actually find there are some similarities there too.
When you own the greatness that is God and you can be yourself and love that person (you) that God created, people see it. They see it and it gives them permission to be themselves too. This path is not an easy one, it is hard. Thoughts of self-doubt, fear and failure can cloud your mind, believe me I’ve been there. A few years ago, I realized I needed a daily reminder of this quote not just some piece of paper tacked up on my mirror, so I had “You are powerful beyond measure” tattooed on my arm. It’s something I carry around with me every day, but it reminds me who I am–a child of God.
Own your greatness and give God the glory.