“…If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” John 11:9-10
I have reached a place in my life I don’t like doing things just because someone tells me to, because someone else has decided it’s necessary for me. I’ve had my fill of living in a “dictatorship”.
The requirements in college often feel like a dictatorship. So much of what I do each day feels ridiculous, senseless, baseless, and yet it is required despite the fact that it will do nothing for my career of choice.
Archaic is the idea that all of this “stuff” is necessary to create a “well-rounded” individual. Curriculum creators refusal to break free of centuries of asinine tradition feels closer to the truth. Okay, end rant.
I’m grateful for the rare gem assignments that—in ways I’m fairly certain weren’t intended to be the way I take them—soothe some of the frustration that is a constant for a non-trad college student.
So while the last few blog posts have been in direct relation to an assignment—what I was told to do, each one has brought me back here, sharing insights and learning that have helped me and may hopefully help someone else. A gem for a gem.
I used be the one who read my scriptures every night or morning because it was what you did if you were doing it “right”. But I don’t that anymore. I no longer adhere to the old “regular scripture study” done at specific times and for specific lengths of time in order to resolve some subconscious fear of not doing it “right”. I no longer shame myself if I’m not doing it “every” day or the way lined out by someone before me.
I will admit that my decision to attend BYUI online to get my degree concerned me. I feared both the internal and external pressure to return to “tradition”. I have developed a deeply personal and non-shame based relationship with God and my Savior. I have never had a stronger testimony of the love of Him who created me and He who atoned for me.
I worried that as a recovering codependent people pleaser/perfectionist I would fall back into destructive patterns of self-shaming because I wasn’t doing it “right”.
So far, for the most part, I’ve done okay. I have moments when I feel the shame that I’m not conforming to the old ways but I have learned to apply my new self-love skills to my assignments. Maybe these skills don't fit in line with the intended methods as per the curriculum creators, but it allows me to remain in a place of love of self and love of God, so it will do.
For the past few years when I open my scriptures I’m no longer on a mission to check off a task on a list, I’m on mission to find the gems I’ve missed over the years of “dutiful study”.
I’ve learned to trust those moments when seemingly random scriptures cause me to pause. This is what I look forward to—those moments when the scriptures speak to me.
In the scripture I shared above, verse nine could be deciphered simply as daylight, but we know that Christ never spoke a “simple” sentence. There was always more…much more.
It’s a tiny little word in verse ten that shifts everything. It’s this tiny little word that caused me to pause… “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light IN him.”
Hmmm. He’s definitely not talking about daylight or lamp light or candle light or anything of the sort.
This is what I love about the words of Christ, why I love the New Testament so much. He may have spoken them aloud anciently, but the lessons in his words are timeless and limitless.
The “light of Christ”. The “light” withIN that guides, protects, heals, lifts, changes no… transforms the hearts of all who let Him IN.
I have experienced darkness. The interesting thing is I was in it when I thought I was doing everything “right”. I did not realize the darkness I lived in until my entire world flipped upside down and what I thought was reality was brought forward as hard slap in the face.
I had been blind. Utterly blind. I followed the "rules", I did all the "things" and then one day my “reality” crumbled and the truth was revealed.
When my marriage abruptly ended after 23 years I had no idea who I was outside my duties, my roles, my subservience to my husband. I had no sense of self.
I had been living in the darkness of fear, doubt, abuse, and a complete and utter misunderstanding of the true love of God. I had been stumbling because I didn’t know how to fully let the light IN to save me, guide me gently into the light of my true path.
Now, I feel the “light” of God and my Savior within me. All the voids in me I used to fill with attempts at “perfection” or toxic relationships are now filled with God’s love alone.
The light seeks me and I seek the light. I am safe for the first time in my life and it has nothing to do with physical circumstances, although those are much improved as well.
Einstein said that there is no such thing as darkness, only the absence of light.
Darkness cannot comprehend light because darkness does not exist. It is something we choose to see instead of the light, whether out of ignorance, fear or shame.
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” John 1:4-5
When I start to focus too much on the painful past or spend too much time concerned for the unknown future I am lost in the dark. I cannot change the past nor can I predict or control the future.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself…” Matt 6:34
When I focus on the I am, instead of the I was, or I will be, I am IN the light and the light is IN me. I am present. I am in the presence of light.
When I walk IN the light of Christ’s love I do not stumble. When I let His light reside IN me I do not lose my way.
And where the light is, darkness cannot be...