Every been inspired to do something great, but then chickened out? Me too. It happens all the time. When I get that feeling that I should do something, like tell someone about a problem I've been having, or tell someone about Jesus, seeds of doubt form. What pursues is a battle between good and evil. Will I follow what can only be God's leading hand, or succumb to fear and do nothing?
Nelson Mandela once said, “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 frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' 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 people won't feel insecure around you. 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 all of us. And when 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.”
It's hard for me to follow up after this quote, for this is such a powerfully riveting quote. Mandela tells us that our playing small helps nobody. In other words, when we give in to fear and don't believe in ourselves, we're actually hurting people and ourselves. He also said that when we let our own light shine, we unconcsciously give other people persmission to do the same. In my youth ministry, it often happens that my youth pastor will ask a question and no one will answer... until one brave soul meekly gives his answer. Then another, encouraged by his brother in Christ, is able to speak up and answer. The snow ball effect soon begins to roll, and many students want to share their answers. It all started with one who decided to let his own light shine.
Who are you not to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, or famous? Don't give in to the sterotypes that restrict you from becoming you God wants you to be. Step out, and don't let yourself close in. So stand up! Use your voice! Be strong! And you'll release your own light, and in the process, allow those around you do to the same.