BY: TCLeach at http://throughanewlens.blogspot.com
Each relationship we are part of is unique and distinct. We do not share ourselves with the cashier at the market in quite the same way we share ourselves with a loved one. We don’t address a child as we would those who are our senior. We don’t speak to coworkers as we would our best friend. Without question, we will have to adjust our light to fit the type of relationship we shining on. There are common factors, however, in each relationship we participate in. We can shine HaShem’s light into every one!
The first thing we must understand when we determine to go about being light is that our motive can never be to change someone else, or to get something in return. We shine light because Scripture says we’re supposed to. We shine light to reflect the nature of the God we serve, that He might get the glory He deserves. Our light is never to illuminate another’s flaws or shortcomings! Instead, our light should be seeking out the divine spark HaShem has placed in every person, that together, they might glow brighter.
It’s imperative that we check our own light-source before reflecting it outwardly. We can begin each day in prayer to establish a secure connection and a brightly shining light. If it doesn’t seem like there’s time to do that each day, rearrange the schedule until there is. Nothing in this life that we do will ever hold more value than our connection to and reflection of The Father’s light! We must ask Him to search our hearts, and show us what we can change to bring the most of Him we can into every relationship we are part of!
Again, each relationship we have is unique in how we approach it, and we will shine God’s light while wearing any one of several hats. We might be dealing with a parent or child, sibling or friend, boss or employee. We might be a spouse or someone’s secret crush. We are customer or merchant, and usually both. That’s a lot of different angles to shine from and towards! In future articles, perhaps we’ll cover shining light into more specific relationships, but for today, we can look at the foundations for shining The Father’s light into any relationship:
- Speak Life! We know that HaShem has given us a choice between life and death. “Choose Life” is what He tells us. That’s not a one time thing, the choice is set before us every day. Knowing the power of our spoken words, what better place to practice choosing life? We can set the tone of our conversations by focusing on positive subject matter. Be the one who sees the glass half full, plus sees the glass and the water as great gifts, too! Speak of solutions, not of problems. Speak of hope, and not of despair. Never, Ever, NEVER speak ill of someone else! Doing so will cast shadows, and shine no light at all. Gossip and insults fall under the category of death, both to the hearer AND the speaker!
- Connect! In this age of technology, we can’t forget the importance of an eye to eye connection. We have to take the time to give others our undivided attention. Even on Skype, we can make the next best thing to a face-to-face connection, but not if we’re answering e-mails in another tab at the same time! Many of our interactions throughout the day are brief, but they can still be conducted with us fully engaged, not distracted. If we’re going to ask someone how they are doing today, we should follow up through our facial expressions to let them know we are genuinely interested in their answer. Even in messaging, “Tell me more!” goes a long way to let someone know we are interested in connecting.
- Listen! If we are thinking of an answer while someone else is talking, we have not yet learned the art of listening, and the person talking is quite aware of this. Sometimes listening, without being quick to to talk, is the kindest “answer” we could offer a person. Not everyone needs to hear our opinion, but everyone needs to feel as though they’re being heard. We must be willing to listen attentively, even though others might be wanting to talk about things outside of our own interests. Even a teen will talk if we ask them how they beat their newest video game, and they discern that we are interested in them enough to really want to know! The quickest way to have someone stop communicating with us is for us to not listen when they talk. Interrupting, talking over others and always inserting our own opinions are huge downers, and repel people, not draw them into light.
- Be Transparent! It’s not always comfortable to do, but transparency in a world chock-full-O-phony is quite refreshing! Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “Wow, have I made some mistakes!” Or especially, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Although our burdens differ, we all know the weight they add to our lives. People need to know they are not alone in struggling! A five year old who can’t figure out how to tie his shoes is just as frustrated as the waitress you may have had this morning who doesn’t know if she’ll make enough tips today to keep her electricity on. We have a relationship with every person who crosses our path in a day. Some of them are a “one moment in time” relationship, and some are life-long. Each needs the light our encouragement and compassion and kindness can shine! Sharing a bit of ourselves shows we are genuine, and helps others feel at ease.
- Keep Your Peace! When we go about shining light, we can expect to come across those who will not react to it in a positive way. It can even seem as though they are determined to diminish our shine. Even with (especially with?) our loved ones! Sometimes, it isn’t hard to believe that the universe, itself, wants to douse our light with one bad circumstance after another. These are the areas where we find out what wattage we have behind our light. When we keep our peace in chaos, in storms, and even in the face of naysayers, The Father’s light shines even brighter! We can disagree peacefully, or walk away peacefully, if we must. Keeping our peace utilizes all of the foundations of shining light into our relationships! When we’re stable and peaceful, those who know us can see, and know that HaShem is with us!
We really can learn to shine HaShem’s light into any relationship we are a part of, no matter how deep or casual the relationship is. As a matter of fact, He expects us to! Scripture tells us much about men (and women) who were “known for” their hearts for God. We’d be remiss not to take a moment to ask ourselves what we’re “known for”. Are we the type of person others can count on? Can someone tell us a secret? Trust us with their heart? Count on our honesty? Ask us a question about God without feeling condemned? Do they turn to us in their time of need? Do they run to us with their good news? Do others feel like they matter to us? Are they being drawn to The Father by the peace they see in us? All of these things are different ways that we can shine light into our relationships! How we handle our relationships, from the smallest interactions to the life-changing relationships, reveals much about us, and our spirit. Light or shadows…Life or death…our choice.