"We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do."
- Marianne Williamson
“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, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. 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. 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.”
- Marianne Williamson
I remember when I first heard the full version of the poem written above. My friends and I went to see Coach Carter when we were in middle school. I remember when one of the players, Timo Cruz, stood up and recited those words. I was moved, and it has stuck with me ever since. I truly believe that it is our light that most frightens us. While it is magnificent and exciting, it is intimidating.
In this season of my life, the part of the poem that most resonates with me is, “your playing small does not serve the world.” As Christians, we are called to serve the world by spreading the gospel. We are meant to be the salt of the earth - giving flavor to the world around us. Sometimes in life, we have a tendency to play small in order to make others feel comfortable. I am learning to unapologetically own the rooms I walk into, and be authentically me in every situation. There is a tendency to bend yourself in order to make other’s feel comfortable, or bottle in emotions to spare the other person. While, I do believe in weighing my words carefully, I now realize there is a difference between weighing words and shrinking yourself so others feel comfortable.
Playing small truly does not serve the world around us in anyway. We inspire others when we step outside of the barriers placed around us. Whether self-imposed or otherwise, playing small keeps us stagnant. We give God room to move in our lives, when we step into things that are bigger than ourselves. That’s the only time we see true growth.
We should fight against shrinking ourselves with all we have. It is not noble, and it is not who God created us to be. We are meant to be our full selves, speaking the truth in love. I have always admired friends and family who speak their mind so freely.
While this year has been challenging on many fronts, one of the positives I have taken from social distancing and working from home is having the ability to stop playing small. While I am pursuing things that scare me, I am discovering that I have the ability to withstand and continue pressing forward. I don’t know in which way you have been playing small in your life, but I want to encourage you to stop. Take the class, start the business, write the book, buy the house, take a chance on the relationship (but please pray about it first). Whatever area of your life you are playing small in, I challenge you to let your light shine.
You never know who is watching you, and being inspired by what you are stepping out to pursue. Don’t let fear hold you back from trying something new.
God will give you everything you need to sustain in what He’s called you to.
I can’t wait to talk to you all next, Sunday! I hope you each have a blessed week!
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