Who am I to be fabulous?
Who am I not to be?
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. … And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. (Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love.)
I have chosen not to be a bank robber. I have chosen not to vandalize my neighbor’s property. I have chosen not to shoplift.
We don’t commend such choices. We punish and look down upon those who don’t make them. Whether Christian or not, theist or not, virtually every human alive agrees that each of us is obligated to avoid that type of behavior.
Are we not equally obligated to do what is good?
Are we not equally obligated not to waste the life we have been given?
Today, I was told by a nurse that patients like me are the minority. Most do not have a positive outlook. Most do not look for the best in their situation.
As she was telling me this, she said, “Of course, no one reacts positively when you first find out such devastating news.”
I didn’t tell her that. It seemed not very humble to say it. Later, though, I got to thinking about the quote that I started this blog with.
As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
We all have our strengths; we all have our weaknesses.
We don’t all use our strengths, and we don’t all work on our weaknesses. Some of us just give in. We float through life.
Are we any less obligated to avoid that attitude than to avoid being a thief?
It was not an accident or a quirk of my nature that allowed me to receive the news of my leukemia with joy from the moment I received it.
I practiced receiving such news for years.
I asked myself whether I was really a Christian. I asked myself whether I really believed what the Bible says. In fact, I found out that I believe what Jesus said. I believe what Moses said. I believe what the apostles said, and I want to follow Abraham’s example. I believe in the inspiration of the Bible, but I really don’t believe that the earth was made in 7 days. I also believe that when serious science competes with literal Bible interpretation, science always wins, and the unyielding literal interpreters of the Bible always end up, well, looking ignorant and foolish.
So I admitted who I am on evolution. The fact is, I trust scientists more than I do the fundamentalists because scientists have better fruit, are more honest, and slander people less.
But when it comes to believing the Gospel, I believe it. I believe that all things work together for good to those who love God and who are the called according to his purpose.
Therefore, for decades, as angry as I might get about being fined $600 when I was broke for a car accident that a president of a bank caused, then lied about and sued me over, I would acknowledge that it wasn’t the bank president who did that to me. It was God. And it was for my good.
For decades, I made up my mind to first question my own judgment about myself rather than the judgment of a person who accused or admonished me.
For decades, I practiced what I believed.
By that, I don’t mean that I did everything I believed. I practiced. I worked at it. I trained, and I got better.
Then one day, God said, “You’ve come far, Grasshopper. You are now ready for a real test.”
And so far, I’ve passed.
We all have different strengths.
What are yours? And what are you doing with them?
Or are you just lucky there’s no laws against coasting through life, being a lazy, evil steward of the gift of life that God gave you?