Light Your Candle, Light Your World

We recently passed our family's birthday season -- 4 birthdays in three weeks and the birthday of our home (5 years in Rexburg!).  Oh, and throw Father's Day into that mix and we have a month-long party!  With each celebration came some candles and an opportunity to celebrate the life of each beautiful person. 

Elder L. Tom Perry once spoke of his childhood birthdays, how they were lavished with attention and given free reign on their special day.  He said, "This attention was a way of showing us that we were wanted and needed and had the complete love and support of our family."  As Elder Perry aged, he starting to look at birthdays differently.  "I understand better each day the blessings of knowing that I am a child of God.  What tremendous power and potential the Lord has blessed each of his children with (BYU Speeches, Aug. 3, 1980)."

Do we recognize this "tremendous power and potential" in ourselves?  Do we give ourselves time to believe the truth of this statement?  Are we willing to light our candles, to light up our world?  

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold.
There is a Spirit who brings fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home. 

Carry your candle, run to the darkness;
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn;
Hold out your candle for all to see it.
Take your candle, and go light your world.*

Have you watched a child recently, really watched him?  Our three-year-old, Donovan, is such a delight!  His smile lights up the room, his energy is contagious, and his joy is full.  He is a bright light.  Children are bright lights because they have not yet been shown that they are not. I don't think it's a coincidence that our children learn the song, "I am a Child of God" at a young age.  They sing it when they believe it.  Why do we stop believing it?   Somehow, sometimes, as we continue on our mortal journey, our lights may begin to dim. 

Alicia Keys has something to say about that.  She writes:

At some point during our dawned on me...How I’d dimmed my light so it wouldn’t blind others or make them uncomfortable around me... rather than basking in teh glow of those miracles, I shrank.  As certain moments I even dumbed myself down or chose not to talk about the many blessings I’d received.  I feared that if I shared my experience in its entirety, if I took the lid off my joy, it would push others away or make them feel small. … Some part of my spirit was always signing up for less because that is what I believed I deserved.  For many years, I thought I was just being modest.  I never wanted to come across self-absorbed, or as someone with a big head.  It’s how we women are brought up: Don’t ask for more. Don’t’ take credit.  Don’t outshine others.  But there on the couch, it hit me that my alleged modesty was just a disguise—a mask for a lack of self-worth.”  
— Alicia Keys, More Myself pp. 247-248

Have any of you felt that you needed to dim your light so others wouldn't feel uncomfortable? I have. 

Have you had a hard time celebrating the success of others because it somehow dims your light?  I have.  

Do you sometimes believe you are just being modest, when in reality you are dumbing yourself down? I do.  

I believe this is a common struggle among all human beings! 

I believe we can do better.  

I believe I can do better.  

We each have a light to shine.  The Lord, Jesus Christ taught, "Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick;  and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:14-16)."

I remember an instance when I shared a dream of mine with a group of friends.  There was something I wanted to do in my life and I explained with great detail what that was.  It was interesting to watch the dreaming become infectious.  Suddenly the room was filled with dreams and desires with a whole lot of support and encouragement going around.  It was energizing! What I learned in that moment was that when we share a piece of ourselves others feel the freedom to do the same.  When we shine our light, "it giveth light unto all that are in the house."  

Shining our light is not for our own gratification or so that we can feel good about ourselves.  Shining our light is about igniting the light in others!  So, please!  Do not allow the adversary (and the many voices in the world) to dim your light! It's not worth it.  Your world needs you to shine! 

We are a family whose hearts are blazing, 
So let's raise our candles and light up the sky.
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus, 
Make us a beacon in darkest times.

Carry your candle, run to the darkness;
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn;
Hold out your candle for all to see it.
Take your candle, and go light your world. *

 - - - - - - -

"The Lord's invitation to let our light so shine is not just about randomly waving a beam of light and making the world generally brighter.  It is about focusing our light so others may see the way to Christ."                                              Bonnie H. Cordon


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