The pastor in a small church on a lake I visited this morning preached about letting our light shine so that our lives glorify God.
He was a loud and energetic Southern Preacher, in a bright t-shirt, who popped up at times to ask questions or proclaim a verse of scripture. I held onto my seat because I didn’t know if he might come at our row of folding chairs in a burst of energy. He was wild and mesmerizing and full of conviction. He spoke so loudly and so quickly (even for me) that I couldn’t hear him. But when he slowed down once or twice, lowered his voice and hands, and stood perfectly still, I could hear.
He asked us, “What’s blockin’ yo’ light?” in that southern drawl of long vowel sounds and missing end consonants.
I wrote the question in my journal and tried not to jump each time he spoke a new sentence. To survive, I let go of my rule book that governs what I expect of preachers, and I let myself come under the sway of it all.
I thought about my life as a clear, bright light, and while the preacher was talking about the blocking power of sin like rebellion, I was thinking more about good things that drain or fade the light, wearing it down to barely a pinpoint.
Good things like losing weight, writing novels, planning great summer activities, enjoying friendship and family, dreaming for the fall, decorating my home, or even maintaining preconceived notions of how church should go felt like things blocking light. They aren’t bad or wrong things at all, but they felt distracting because they’d become the goal, the whole shebang.
Our desires–even our gifting–become loud and manic, popping up and waving at us to follow them instead of God.
I want to find and reposition the good distractions that tempt me precisely because they seem so good. I’d hardly recognize them; they appear as growth, as progress, religiosity or as a career and ministry vision, but they distract us and block the light.
I want to beam out the strongest and clearest light for God’s glory, so I ask for wisdom to remove or reposition things–even good things–that block it. I stay near Him, recharging with the only light that’s real, and then shine as I’m made to, so that nothing blocks that glow.
It was a great sermon once I repositioned myself to hear it.