At yoga this past Wednesday, the teacher read us a poem called "Our Deepest Fear," written by Marianne Williamson. Part of the poem reads: "Your playing small/does not serve the world/There's nothing enlightened about shrinking/so that other people won't feel insecure around you/...We were born to make manifest/The glory of God that is within us." The idea of making a difference (or, serving the world, as Williamson refers to it) is fused with fear; often it's hard to pinpoint the fear, but it's there.
After I read the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller this past summer, I thought (and continue to think)--A LOT--about creating meaning from my life and the natural fear that accompanies this process. It is not easy to make the changes in one's own life so that other lives can be changed; it's scary. But, Miller reminds his readers that fear can manipulate people into living boring lives. So, to me, it's necessary to face the fear and to fight my way through it (it's kind of like walking through the slew of cobwebs in my basement).
It's important to stretch ourselves (both our bodies AND our minds). In my post "Think About Stuff," I refer to the book Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire by William T. Cavanaugh. That book pushed me to a different level of thought; Cavanaugh urges readers to think about how each person's actions AND inactions can/will affect another person or people. I began looking at stuff in my closet and basement that I hadn't touched in a few years (except to move it...), and I considered the people who could benefit from the stuff that I wasn't using.
It began with donating "stuff" to others that could use it, but it hasn't ended there. I continue to try to stretch myself in ways that (I hope) will make a difference to others. It's sometimes a slow process, but Williamson's poem was a good reminder that we all have a duty to fulfill as children of God. It doesn't have to be big; it just has to be.
"We are what we do." Who are you?