Bonfires And Candles Both Count As Flames

Being human is difficult. There are days when the doubt creeps into my mind and my heart and I get consumed by anxiety, guilt, shame, worry, and a plethora of other less than pleasant emotions.

But recently I read Matthew 14:27 which says, “Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’”

I was reading the biblical story about how when the disciples saw Jesus in the middle of the night during the a raging storm, they did not recognize him. They thought he was a ghost. They were sure that glow that surrounded the Savior was too minimal to be a God – for they knew the greatness of God and expected Him to make a GRAND entrance.

While reading this story it occurred to me that a lot of my stress and worries come from not recognizing God in the small places of my life. The truth is that He is present in what feel like and seem like the tiniest of moments, the most mundane tasks and interactions – He is orchestrating it all and knows it all before it even happens. What a wondrous gift!

I find myself, like many likely do, dismissing the occasional act of kindness as an apparition, an accident, a coincidence. I am always listening for the shout – the loud voice above all the noise around me, but in turn, I often find that I’m missing the gentle whispering of my Savior.

I am on the lookout for the raging fire, the sticky sweet smell of a bonfire, the trail of smoke up into the sky. When in reality, I should be making sure that I am aware of the smaller flames – those of candles are just as real as those of bonfires.

The consequences of bypassing the flames of the candles around us in exchange for heading straight to the bonfire can be huge. From the little blessings that end up not being so little, like a friendship that was started with a simple smile to playing and winning the lottery – there is no such thing as chance.

I am reminded of this as I spend day after day at Meadowmount in a high-stakes, intense, musical environment. It is a place of learning, a place of growth, a place of change and evolution. But it can also be a place of great emotional danger if we allow it to be. There are so many wonderfully talented people here – some even as young as the 6th grade. I hate to admit it, but I have to be honest – many of the 14 and 15 year old girls I am counselor too can play circles around me and that presents the perfect opportunity for me to be insecure and too hard on myself. There have been times my mind has been headed down that route and I have had to whisper to God to take the steering wheel of my life back under his control – who am I to think I can drive this rugged path of life that I am on?!

I am constantly pelted with the questions, “How old are you?” “What year are you in school?” and when I answer these things – the answers don’t add up as they would in someone who has taken the traditional route with their education. And much like with my playing level and capability (or lack there of haha) I have to constantly remind myself that I don’t have to be the best to lead the most fulfilling life – I simply have to never lose faith and put forth the effort every day to show up and be an active participant in my own life.

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
Mother Teresa

I know that I want to make a difference. Even in the hardest moments and on the toughest days, I know that God will equip me with exactly what I need to fulfill His purpose in my life during that allotted 24 hours. I know that if I am taking the time to look around, to breath deeply, to feel the heat and see the flicker of even the smallest flames around me, I will have no need to fear….for the Lord my God is with me always.

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”
Francis of Assisi

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