Everyday Miracles is a very personal column for readers who want to explore the deeper meaning of life.
We’ve all met someone at least once in our lives whose smile and brightness shines such that we are drawn in to her or him. This person makes us feel good. He or she always has such nice things to say about people.
When I first met Danielle (not her real name) I was taken by the peace, calmness, and contentment that exuded from her being. She illuminates with joy every day. Everyone who knows Danielle always has the nicest things to say about her.
“…that little offense leaves a teeny slash mark on our heart,
like a very fine paper cut…”
My friendship with her blossomed and over time I learned what made her shine. I decided to live my life such that I too could harness this energy and live like she does, in that joyful, peaceful, contented state—full of love and humility. Little did I know what living in the light actually required of me.
How do we plug in?
Danielle told me her source of joy and peace comes only because of something she does on a daily basis. She says she “plugs in” to a power source every morning.This power source is what gives her that “light.”
“And how do you plug in Danielle?” I asked.
“I spend time with God every day,” she responded.
“Every day?” I pressed her.
“Yes, I must, because there is so much darkness in the world that every day that I’m in the world, the darkness wants to overtake my light.”
Because I am such a visual person, this is how I picture it. We all have a little flame of light flickering in our heart. Think of it as a pilot light, like in a gas stove. Every day we have a choice to power that light with the right kind of fuel to burn brighter in us, or leave it where it is flickering at a very low level.
If we start our day with just a small flame, there is not enough power for that light to shine through us brightly; not enough light to share with others; and certainly not enough light to overtake the darkness that encroaches on us every day.
You ask, “What kind darkness are you talking about? Things like negative comments about us, offensive words and actions by others, guilt that may hover around us, disappointments, sorrow from the onslaught of negative news, misinterpretations, stuff from our past that still haunts us, the list goes on and on.
When we settle in after a long day, we’re spent from all the dark and negative actions that have crossed our path. Some affect us just for a moment, like say a driver cuts us off and triggers a few seconds of anger in us; other negativity can leave a more lasting effect like a snide comment from a co-worker who secretly wants our job, whatever it is—be it one, two or nine things that happen in a day—negativity can exhaust us when we don’t have the power to fight it.
Darkness doesnt only come from others actions. Darkness can manifest right in our own minds—all those voices in our head, the constant chatter of this and that, negativity that replays over and over in our brains.
What happens when we don’t plug in?
Because we didn’t plug into the right power source that morning to fuel the flickering flame so it would grow to a large, warm fire roaring in our heart, we did not have the resource inside of us to burn up the negativity when we encountered it. Now, some of that negativity is taking up residence in our heart, in our soul, and in our mind.
“What do you mean, Genevieve?” you ask. Well, it’s hard to go through a day isolated from negativity. We live in a fallen world. This is a fact. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” This is the truth about ourselves, our flesh, when we dont have the light shining in us, so says the Bible.
When we encounter antagonism, say something as small as that snarky comment that bothers us that we didn’t deal with right away, that little offense leaves a teeny slash mark on our heart, like a very fine paper cut, right next to the small flickering flame. The flame is too small so it doesn’t have the power to burn up that little negative mark of offense before it lands on our heart to take root there.
Day after day we go about our lives without fueling that little flame in our heart to burn bigger and brighter so day after day, year after year, negativity after negativity starts to build up on our heart—marks of hurt, marks of shame, marks of unforgiveness, marks of blame, marks of unkindness, marks of guilt, marks of abandonment—the list is endless—so many slash marks accumulate over time all taking root over every square inch of our heart that our little flame is now nearly burned out from being crowded out.
[page break]When there’s barely a spark left
What happens then is that we live our lives every day surrounded by the negative energy that comes from all that unresolved “stuff” that’s taken root in our heart. We have very little light shining from our souls. Our eyes don’t sparkle. We walk around angry; we blame others, we gossip, we judge others. Or maybe we’re full of shame and guilt. We’re afraid. We wear disguises.
Over time, these wounds on our heart have moved us to act and react from a place of fear because self-protection mode has taken over. We simply can’t bear another slash mark on our heart.
“What sets each one of us apart though is how we choose to deal with life’s difficulties and its ensuing darkness…”
Now some of you might deny having any negativity at all. “Oh that’s not me, Genevieve. I live in a very peaceful place surrounded by love and special friends.” Someone once told me that. Then I watched as she set out to destroy another person through devious tactics. She thought no one was watching.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years and what I know to be true.
We all have unresolved stuff. Because we live in a world that’s filled with darkness none of us can escape adversity. What sets each one of us apart though is how we choose to deal with life’s difficulties and its ensuing darkness when it encroaches upon our light.
We have two choices
We’re either plugging in to the right power source, or we’re not.
When we don’t plug into the right power source to ignite the light inside of us every day, over time our heart gets so riddled with slash marks that we find ourselves living in the dark and in the shadows of others most of the time. Our little light is nearly extinguished.
The darkness then manifests itself in our lives through damaging behavior patterns. Obvious ways include self-medicating in the form of drugs and alcohol; denial of the hurt by taking on addictive behaviors like overeating and hoarding. These coping mechanisms are often done in secret and indirectly affects others.
Overt coping mechanisms, the ones that directly affect others, include lashing out as a way of dealing with the hurt; rudeness towards others; gossiping, judging others; writing snarly comments on Facebook. People who do this have low self-esteem, which is a by-product of years of hurt, abuse, and abandonment going all the way back to childhood.
As an adult, low self-esteem can be disguised as overconfidence and narcissism. These people are often the loudest ones of the bunch. They’re bold and brash. They push their way to the front. What’s really going on here is an attempt to steal the light from others who work at keeping their light bright, and pure. These folks end up living in the shadows of others’ light—sometimes their whole lives without knowing it.
What is a shadow? Well, look down at the pavement the next time someone is blocking the sunlight in front of you. It is a dark spot on the ground. It is darkness.
[page break]The source of the light
We all want to live in the light because we are born with that light. When we emerge from the womb the flame in our hearts is so large and pure. It’s not been tainted by the world. Why do you think new parents are overcome with emotion when a baby is born? The light from that little infant is so bright it overwhelms us. Babies are a gift from God, a gift directly from Heaven. Newborns are filled with the purity of light from Heaven.
What is that little flame that still flickers in our hearts as adults?
And from these virtues we cultivate patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We all have it in us. That light that is sourced from God is in each and every one of us. The flame of love, of peace, of joy, of mercy, and of hope never goes out. No matter how many slash marks have scarred our hearts, there is always a spark of light to draw from to heal the hurt.
It says in the everlasting book of truths, the Bible, that, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”
The question is how are we fueling that spark? What is our power source? Is it accolades from others? Is it being in the spotlight? Is it the money in our bank account? Is it the clothes in our closet and the jewelry we wear? Is it belief in the words of self-help gurus to get us through for a momentary fix? Is it our own inflated view of ourselves?
I am here to tell you there is only one way to adequately and accurately fuel your fire such that is has the power to produce the right kind of love, the right kind of peace, the right kind of joy, the right kind of mercy and the right kind of hope.
The right kind is the kind that’s everlasting; that kind that doesn’t go away at the first sign of adversity. And it’s so strong it has the power to fight adversity.
The only power source that provides this kind of fuel is God.
The God of the Bible.* (see footnote at end on page 4)
The God that gave us his son, Jesus Christ, to save us, and place that light in our hearts.
“Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
I’ve found after years of reading self-help books that the only book that contains the truths we need to heal our hearts and souls is contained in the timeless treasure of the Bible. I don’t care what religion or belief you claim, there is no other book on the planet that has the fuel needed to fan the fire in our heart that was burning brightly when we were born.
[page break]Where do I start?
I know that tackling this big giant book called the Bible can be daunting. “Where do I start?”
Here are my suggestions and what I do:
1. Get yourself a Bible. I read from the Life Application Study Bible (New Living Translation) because it has notes at the bottom of each page that explains, in today’s terms, what the passages mean and how they apply to today. Here’s a link to it on Amazon.
2. Start reading the Bible with the book of John in the New Testament. It is a good foundational place to begin so you have an understanding of the characteristics of this power source.
3. Get a devotional book to read alongside the bible. A devotional is a day-by-day reading that provides encouragement. The daily thoughts are accompanied by a Bible verse cross-referencing what you just read.
The two devotionals by my bedside are:
“Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Presence,” by Sarah Young. This is the follow-up to Young’s “Jesus Calling,” the phenomenal best seller that millions of people are reading worldwide. I like “Jesus Today” because it has the verses written out in case you don’t have a Bible handy. If you can’t get enough of it, buy both.
“Trusting God Day by Day,” by Joyce Meyer: I have connected with Joyce more than any other spiritual teacher. Her no non-nonsense approach speaks to so many of us.
Keep these books by your bedside. Don’t put your feet on the floor until you’ve plugged into the right power source every morning. Close your eyes after reading and ask God to ignite the pilot light inside of you so that love, peace, joy, mercy, and hope burn brightly from your heart and soul—and all you meet will know it. That, my friends, is the everyday miracle.
*Footnote: I know that for some of you the second you read the word Bible I ruffled your feathers. “Don’t be pushing your religion and on me, Genevieve.”
Well, hear me out. I’ve read lots of self help books, but the only book that has answered all of my questions (and I’ve had many questions over the years as the journalist in me is inquisitive by nature) is the one that’s been a best seller for two millennia. No other book has sold more copies in the history of the world than the Bible.
When I told a friend that I read the Bible for inspiration, she shared that she reads Eckhart Tolle for inspiration. When I told her I listen to Joyce Meyer as my spiritual mentor, she told me Louis Hay is been her spiritual mentor. My question to her is: what do these people consider as their power source? If their power source is the God of the universe, the God that gave us Jesus Christ as our savior, then you are gleaning wisdom from right place. Books labeled as “spiritual” and “self-help” are a nice way to support our spiritual journey assuming the authors are plugged into the right power source, but know there is no replacement for the one book that contains absolute truth and wisdom of the world.
Thank you for taking this long journey with me. Now leave a comment below if you feel like it. And share this with a friend by clicking the link below.
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About the Author
Genevieve Schmitt is the founder of WomenRidersNow.com. She was raised in a strict Catholic household, but in college the journalist in her starting asking questions of organized religion. By age 30 she developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and since then works daily to surrender her stubborn will and vain ego to allow the Holy Spirit to guide her life. She now considers herself a non-denominational Christian. In the summer of 2014, with guidance from God, she started expressing her faith journey in this column, Everyday Miracles. Feedback from WRN readers has been overwhelming positive proving that people crave so much more.