It’s the same old story, a tale literally as old as time. This life, that is.
I’ve caught myself saying so many times lately––about ideas or quotes or one-liners plucked from a conversation mid-flow as I browsed the isles of the grocery store––”I’ve had that exact same thought, only maybe not quite as eloquent.” Or that experience she just described in the book? The same thing happened to me, down to the very last sentence.
I can spend so much of my life holding the dim candle of myself up to the shining spotlight of another and wondering, why, God, can’t I do that, too? Why couldn’t I write those words, take those pictures, live that life, see those truths mirrored back as I look into the faces of the people around me or find you when I gaze up at the sky.
Why am I less?
Why am I lacking?
Why, no matter how hard I try, am I simply just not enough?
But what I’ve noticed in rummaging through the dark, rumpled, disorganized rooms of my life by the light of my own dimly lit candle is this: life is made up of universal threads. It’s the same old story of love and loss, wandering and redemption, paralyzing failure and forging ahead anyway in spite of all the odds stacked against us, wreckage and rescue, overwhelming grief walking in step with persistent hope.
It’s true what they say. There is nothing new under the sun. So maybe, then, when God says, “behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19 ESV), what He really means is that He’s doing the same old thing He’s always done––making a way where there is no way, loving a desperately unlovable, wandering people, rescuing us one minute at a time, taking kerosine to our weak candles and scorching death for his glory, fighting relentlessly to woo His people back to Himself so we may live whole and free––but He’s using new people. New voices. New experiences. New perspectives. New dollar store bargain candles.
We are not writing our own stories as much as we are simply re-writing His. Sure, they have different characters, varying plot lines, unique voices, maybe scratched out in bubble letters on a slant in purple pen, but still the same old story.
What if we were no longer afraid to light the candle we’ve been given? What if we really internalized that it was never about how much light it produces––that lighting the candle, fanning the flame, and the glory of illumination all belong to Him?
Don’t be afraid to shine, beloved. You have absolutely nothing to lose, because, truly, no one shines quite like you.