"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
Reading that hits home for me. I am a light of this world. My light cannot be hidden. My light cannot be dimmed. I am here to give my light to everyone around me. I haven't been doing that. I have been holding my light hostage for people who aren't around me, for those whose presence is limited in my life. I walk around waiting for a few moments, a few days, or a few weeks to share my light, to feel something that is missing the rest of the year, to fill a void of connection. I have created that void by not connecting with my community, by not connecting with the people who are around me, by not connecting with the people who want to be around me. I have done that by being distant, by isolating myself, and by not wanting anyone to see me struggle.
I want to be the strong woman who can handle it all because that means I don't need anyone, I don't have to depend on anyone, I don't have to open up to anyone, and no one can hurt me while I am vulnerable. This comes from never feeling protected or safe at home, finding someone who made me feel protected and safe, finding out that this person is an abuser, and feeling like I can't trust or believe anyone because I don't know who they really are. In all that I am just breaking my own heart out of fear of someone else breaking it. That fear is not allowing me to open up to anyone. That fear is not allowing me to open my heart to anyone. That fear is not allowing me to love anyone. That fear is not allowing me to let anyone love me. It's almost like the wall I've put up around my heart to keep people out has my heart crying for someone who's willing to break it down to see my heart, to see my truth, to know where my heart is, and to learn to love me.
The safety and protection that I seek can only be found through my relationship with God. The fear that I feel can be cast out by the unconditional love of God. God hears the cries of my heart. God will help me break down the wall I have put up around my heart. God already sees my heart. God already sees my truth. God already knows where my heart is. God already loves me. It's me who is still learning how to release the fear. It's me who is still learning to surrender. It's me who keeps my wall up. It's me who is holding my truth, my heart, and my light hostage. It's me who is still learning to love myself.
Being a light means coming out of hiding. Being a light means boldly sharing my truth. Being a light means learning to love myself (which is hard to do when I am hiding the best parts of myself). Being a light means stepping out on faith. Being a light means being the woman that God created me to be. Being a light means answering the call that God has placed on my heart.
The challenge is to put actions to these words. That action starts here with posting and sharing these words. This is only the beginning.