I love quotes. I know a lot of people don’t. But I find that in each great quote is an entire philosophy, a unique take on life, that someone has managed to put into one or two sentences. Of course, Marianne Williamson’s quote is longer than one or two sentences, so forgive me for straying from the norm this once. I think its value justifies its length:
“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.”
In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that in order to move forward, people need two things: validation and permission. I consider this my permission to be more than I’ve thought I could or should be.
It’s often been hard for me to play small, actually. I seem to have needed the affirmation too badly to let an opportunity to succeed pass me by. It doesn’t usually start out that way, though. Each time I’ve done well with something, it’s begun with, “Hey, why don’t you _________________!” The word ‘no’ was never really in my vocabulary, so I did _________________ whether I wanted to or not.
From that point, there were always nudges and encouragement from someone to move to a new level. And, to be honest, I was always my own greatest competition. If I could be a leader at a local level, maybe I could be a leader at a state level, or a national level. No one else around me wanted to do it and were very encouraging, so I ended up being on a national leadership team for Business Professionals of America – the second from the state of Kansas.
This blog is something entirely new for me, and I wouldn’t be doing it if my teenage daughter hadn’t told me to. She doesn’t suggest or encourage; she just tells you to do it. And so I’m doing it. Still don’t know why I’m doing it.
I suppose that’s not entirely true. I know why I’m doing it. I want to write a book someday, and I know that to be a writer, you have to write. Ten years ago, I had a story published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul edition. It was pretty cool, but by the time I found out it was going to be published, I’d forgotten all about it. I’d done it on a whim, I’d never submitted anything for publication before, and I had no expectations of ever being published. But then something happened.
I stood in the aisle of a local Barnes & Noble, looking at the single copy of the book with my story in it. I wanted to stop the first person who walked by and tell them, “My story is in that book!” But that would have been weird, so I silently squealed in my head while running my finger lovingly down the spine of the book. Then I looked inside – you know, just to be sure it was still in there.
Then a single thought began to form in my mind. I found my husband, looked him straight in the eyes and firmly told him, “I want my own book.” Then I didn’t write another thing until my daughter told me to start a blog. I have no idea how I thought a book was going to materialize without words on paper, but that’s where things stayed for 10 years.
However, I never stopped wanting to write something, anything, that could affect people. I want to write something that will show people who feel unloved that they are loved, and people who feel unlovable that they are lovable. And I want them to know that they are loved by a good God. I want to show people that they can do more than just survive a bad life, that they can actually thrive with a really good life because that’s what Christ died for us to have. And I want to show people that while they may have had a rough beginning – even a rough middle – they can still have an epic end starting now.
Has this been done before? Thank God it has been! Has it been done by me? Not yet. But I believe (and this is hard to put out there in case someone disagrees – and they probably will) that God has given me a past and a talent that I can put to good use for Him.
One more quote and I’ll be done for the day. Erma Bombeck was my favorite humorist when I was growing up. I treasured using her books as selections when I was in high school speech. She said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.”
Now I don’t expect to be an Erma Bombeck, but I can be a LaRonda Bourn – the first of my kind. I’ll start sentences and even paragraphs with conjunctions when I probably shouldn’t. I may use sentence fragments. And by golly, I will use commas like they’re on sale. But if I put those conjunctions, fragments and commas in God’s hands, maybe – just maybe – something new and beautiful can come from them all.
Wow! I really said all that, huh?