Live Your Life, Follow Your Star, And Keep Your Light Shining!
“Champion the right to be yourself; dare to be different and to set your own pattern, live your own life, and follow your own star.“~Wilferd Peterson
A recent book, The Last Arrow by Erwin Raphael McManus was recommended to me by my mentor. She advised if I read just one book this year, this is it. (Ha! That will be the day!) Well, it had been on my wish list for weeks so of course I was putty in her hands. In my usual style, I’m gulping it hungrily and loving every page. Since it’s mine all mine, I will go back and highlight, note and dog ear it to ferret out my favorite nuggets. The tag line is “save nothing for the next life.” McManus is a pastor in LA and there’s no question about what he means by the next life.
The last arrow? It’s a great metaphor for action. Keep striking until your quiver is empty. Never settle, never give up. I love this quote. “In the end, the one thing you must never settle for is the calling that God has on your life, the purpose for which He created you, the impact He designed you to make in the world.” When I reflect on his words, it sends me back to when I first began writing my little messages of encouragement. I wholeheartedly believe we were created by God on purpose with a purpose. Even if our task seems small, it is critically necessary in the choreography of His divine vision.
Pondering the meaning of life
What does it mean to “know your why”? Our English language has so many ways to express precisely what we mean yet we don’t always manage to do it. Instead, we describe it in many variations. We might say “discover your passion” or “uncover your purpose” or “find your true north”. But let’s be clear, the fact we can say it so many ways makes it something worth thinking about. Humans have pondered the meaning of life since we first sat around a fire and stared into the coals.
When will I recognize my why, my light, my purpose?
“Luceat Lux Vestra” is another expression, this one in Latin. It translates to “Let Your Light Shine.” You’ll find the words in Matthew 5:16. While researching the phrase, I discovered it’s also a popular tattoo even though it’s not always placed where it can shine. It was the class motto of Christian author Matthew Kelly’s high school and the words have remained a powerful influence on his life to this day.
Kelly tells us it takes time and patience to know ourselves well enough so we notice it when it appears. It won’t show up too early or too late. It will arrive at the perfect moment in our personal journey, exactly when we’re ready. And, he assures us we don’t need to worry that we won’t recognize it because our purpose is looking for us, too. You can read more about following your star and finding the meaning in your life in his book The Rhythm of Life. My copy is highlighted, underlined, dog-eared, with comments in the margins. Yes, it’s that good.
I also really like a young author, Jeff Goins. In his book The Art of Work, he suggests our life’s sweet spot resides at the intersection of what we know, what we love and what the world needs. In his words, we find it by listening to our life for the times that make us feel alive. Another way to search is to study the stories of other people’s lives and the unexpected ways they discovered their passion and purpose. You’ll realize you must dare to be different in a world that celebrates uniformity. That in itself takes a willingness to be vulnerable.
Don’t let fear stop you from shining
Warning. There’s a force that’s always working against us when we’re striving our hardest to break the gravitational pull of mediocrity. It’s been called “The Resistance.” It is the Enemy and the thief of joy. It seems frightening but an unwavering belief in the worthiness of our battle to fulfill our destiny will send it running. Even the hardships and suffering we experience can lead us to discovering our purpose. I love Robert Schuller’s encouragement to “turn our scars into stars” and Oprah Winfrey’s, too, telling us to “turn our wounds into wisdom.”
Way back in 1992, Marianne Williamson pitched an interesting possibility in her book A Return to Love. Nelson Mandela is said to have incorporated some of her words into his inaugural address. “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…..And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
The search, no matter where it takes you is worth it, my friend. Once you begin to align yourself with what matters most deeply to you, life becomes richer and sweeter. You’ll find reminders like breadcrumbs sprinkled on your path telling you you’re on the right path and leading you further along the way. Incredibly, the most amazing people will find their way into your life. Finally, and most important is the journey itself. Knowing who you were born to be is so much more about who you become that what you acquire or achieve.
“Do not let your life be like a shooting star that lights up the sky for only a brief moment. Let your life be like the sun, which always burns brightly in the heavens, bringing light and warmth to all those on earth. Live the life you were born to live! Let your light shine!”~Matthew Kelly