“Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 TPT
Finding a new normal with all that is happening in the world currently, has been a little bit challenging. I am in the throws of trying to home school my kids, while my husband is working from home; at the same time maintaining laundry levels, clean toilets, make three meals a day, keeping up this daily blog and finish my book. (This list is not exhaustive).
Somewhere down this long line of responsibility, I lost the plot a little bit. I realized that I had neglected the most important thing: to spend time with my Creator. So I decided to wait until this evening sit down, quiet myself and just listen to what He wanted to say to me.
As I was sitting in the presence of the Lord, I had an impression in my spirit. If you follow my blog or know me in person, you might know that I had an incredible encounter with the Father whilst watching the Disney movie, Tangled. Often times, when I am praying, God will speak to me through the images of that movie.
As I closed my eyes, I could see myself walking through the big wooden doors of the castle; looking for the King. I found him in a large conference room, almost like a war room. He was looking down at a large table that stood in the middle of this room. He looked sad and concerned.
He smiled as he noticed me and invited me to join him at the table. I noticed that there was a map of the world on the table. He was pointing to different places on the map, but I couldn’t understand what he was trying to show me. This map was magnificent and looked like it was alive. The world was dark as if it was the middle of the night; all the lights were switched off and the people asleep.
There was a stack of paper lanterns on the corner of the table. I grabbed it and rushed out of the door, running from house to house to deliver a lantern. I knew that this would make the King happy; knowing that when the evening comes, these lanterns will fill the sky and his lost children will be beckoned home.
As I returned to the castle the King had been waiting for me. I expected him to light the first lantern, like he usually does. But in my heart I heard him whisper: “No. It is your turn to light the first lantern. I always light this lantern to celebrate you. Now, it is your turn to celebrate you.”
I didn’t quite know how to respond to these words. Am I being a little prideful? If I’m honest, I still struggle with celebrating who I am. I understand who I am, I know that I am a daughter of the King and I believe that I am loved. I know with all of my heart that I am celebrated by my Father, but what does it mean to celebrate yourself?
Ashamedly, I admit; I Googled it. Surprisingly, I found some amazing synonyms that helped me unearth some truths that not only challenged me, but wrecked my heart.
To celebrate is to esteem.
To esteem someone is to treat them with respect. Did I have respect for myself? Do I consider the boundaries I set for myself with just as much respect than I consider the boundaries of others? At the minute, I don’t have much say in the matter of boundaries being on lock-down. Ha! But when the doors open, will I respect my priorities as much as I respect everyone else’s or will I continue to accommodate others at my expense?
I just want to add that you do need discernment in these matters, not every interruption or change of plan is a bad thing. Sometimes we have to take a step back from our schedule to be there for someone in need, but when sacrificing your priorities for someone else’s becomes the norm, you have to ask yourself: Do I respect myself enough to say no, when I know that the King of Heaven has given me an assignment to finish?
To celebrate is to acknowledge
To acknowledge someone is to recognize them as being good or important. This one arrested me with immediate effect! Do I recognize myself as being good? Oh… Just last night I had a little meltdown in the kitchen about this book that I am pouring my heart into; and the (seeming) lack of verbal affirmation by the choir of approval.
It always jars a little when my husband identifies a blind spot and I knew he was going to impart some wisdom that would sting. (But that is usually when it’s working.) He lovingly told me that I will never find the approval that I’m looking for externally, if I don’t first believe in myself. He encouraged me to believe in the assignment that God has given me. And it challenged me, because on some level I still struggle to believe that I am good enough to do it.
To celebrate is to think well of
Google says it is about having a good reputation and to be respected by others. This also offered a conundrum, because if you want to have any kind of reputation, you have to be seen. Being seen is uncomfortable. This has been the most difficult part of my writing journey thus far. The first time I hit the publish button on my WordPress account, I took a very long, very deep breath. Maybe several. Ha!
We all want others to think well of ourselves, so we hide the ugly parts; the vulnerable parts. The parts that make us cringe. What if those are the parts that our intended audience can relate to? It is often the weaker parts of us that connects us.
Thanks to my friend Google, I also discovered some opposites to celebrate.
To criticize – to disapprove. As I looked at this word, I had a little flicker of hope as I remembered how far I had come. I used to be so critical about everything I did. There are moments when I still do that to myself, especially when times are busy or challenging. I criticize my parenting skills, my organisational skills, my matrimonial skills, my breathing skills. Ha! Over the years I have learned to stop that voice in my head. God doesn’t criticize me. Why should I?
To be unsung – to be unacknowledged. Here we are back again at this little word “acknowledge.” You know, as much as I am feeling like there is a lack of acknowledgement in my physical world, I am not sure how I would respond to it if it did come my way. Could I actually receive it in a thankful and healthy way? God sings over me. It is not prideful to get praise. It is only prideful when we pursue the praise.
To be obscure – to be kept from being seen. Self-promotion is a word that makes me very uncomfortable. We are about to embark on the marketing phase of this book and I have to say it has pushed me way out of my comfort zone. When I think of marketing, I think audience, sales, numbers and social media followers, but that is not the way it works in the Kingdom. One of my mentors, Jeremiah Yancy said it so succinctly: marketing is about making a connection.
The revelation-light that God has given me was not meant to be hidden under a bushel. It is time for it to be put on the stand. It is time to make a connection with every lost child of God; out there, in a dark world. It is time to shine so bright that it wakes them up from their sleep!
As I asked the Lord about the picture he had shown me, I heard him whisper: “I didn’t ask you to take the lanterns and run from house to house. I was showing you a map of the world. I know exactly where every lost child is. I know exactly where every lantern needs to go, because I want my children to come home. I will make the light reach the hearts of my children. You can trust me with this.”
In my heart I know this: I need to rise above the self-criticism and my need to be acknowledged and approved by people. I can’t afford to remain in a place of obscurity, because I have to take up my position and release the light of the revelation I have been given.
My Father is counting on me.
So are his lost children. They just don’t know it… yet!
Today, I hear the gentle words of my loving Father: “Beautiful Child. There is so much light in you. Patiently, I have waited for you to believe who I have created you to be. Now is the time to come out of obscurity. Shake off the tattered clothes of the past and put on my robes of righteousness. For it is time to shine. My Beloved.” ❤