She had an earnest heart, a desire to be the best version of herself possible in this life. Thus, when looking into the light, she was prone to demand the light look into her, reading what was there, exposing any darkness, healing all her wounds and guiding her to Truth, in all its beauty. She could have feared what the light would show her. But her faith was in the light, and not herself and her own imperfection. For she knew she could fully trust its gentle kindness to free and transform her. After all, why should she hide in the shadows, wasting time covering up her shortcomings, when she could expose them to the light and attain a peace beyond herself.
A couple of months ago, I finished editing this portrait of a beautiful friend of mine and sent it directly, as I often do, to my mom. As an exceptional fine artist (watercolorist and oil painter), she has great technical eye and I rely on her to point out things I could adjust to make my images more effective. I admit, as a typical sensitive artist myself, I don’t always love her feedback. But I do deeply respect it, And, truth be told, after consideration pretty much 100% of the time I end up agreeing with her advice and making changes.
But not this time.
“Her face is turned away,” she said, “drawing the focal point to the wrong place.” “Well,” I asked, “where is the focal point?” “The light,” she said, “and it’s too bright, casting her face in shadow.”
” Yes, you’re right,” I said. Because she was right. The focal point is – odd. “Even so,” I continued, “it portrays exactly the message I want to convey.”
I was surprised a day or so later when my mom contacted me to let me know, after having read the mini-story I had posted with the picture on Instagram, that she now agreed with my having put the focus on the light, as it really did communicate what I wanted to say.
Of course I felt, as my South Africans friends would say, chuffed. But more than that, I was also kind of amazed at myself. I’m an addicted second-guesser-of-self, but in this, a long and strong confidence rose up and took over. I knew that I knew that this was the message I HAD to share. It was a compulsion. It still is.
Because you see, we have been extended a privileged invitation to extend an invitation to be known – to have ourselves read by the light. But it’s up to us to decide whether or not we will be brave enough to actually let that light in.
Inside each of us is a deep innate longing, perhaps the deepest longing we as humans have: and that is to be known. Or, as I like to describe it, we long to open ourselves up to be read for the story in the making that we all are. The problem with that, though, is that most of us have become experts in hiding who we really are – out of hurt, disappointment and the fear of rejection. ‘If they really knew me…they wouldn’t love me.”
Sadly, rejection is all too-often part and parcel of living bravely. Not by everyone. But certainly some one’s. But with Jesus, it’s different. The risk lies more in our being willing to open ourselves up to being accurately and lovingly read by Him and encouraged to grow and change, than in our being rejected by Him. We’d have to do the rejecting, permanently, for Him to reject us.
Jesus, the Light of the World, knocks on our door asking to be invited in. It IS our choice to accept or deny Him. God is very serious about honoring our freedom to choose. But when we do invite Him in, He also asks that we let Him in entirely. That we choose vulnerability. Trust.
Any relationship only really works when we open up our lives to someone and give them permission to respond. To share their opinion. To voice their concerns. To extend advice. To tell the truth. Anything less than that is not a relationship. It’s a one-person show.
But in order to have the relationships we all long for where we can be truly known, we must be brave. Oh so very very brave. And picky about who we invite in to the deepest places of our heart in the first place.
From my experience, Jesus is the all-time best Person that we could ever extend our invitations to, to allow into our hearts and have a good read. He’s already knocking on our door. Every day. Ever hour. Every minute. Not because He wants to intrude, but because He wants to be our friend. Our Savior. Our Lord. Our Lover. He’s trustworthy. He’s kind beyond imagination. He’s gentle. He’s true. And He will never ever leave us or forsake us no matter what He sees when He shines His light into our soul.
So here’s my challenge to you. And to me. Because it’s an everyday kind of thing. Invite Him in. All the way. Let Him shine his light on you and read you. Let Him converse with you. And share His heart. It’s an invitation worth extending. And it will change your life for the better. I can promise you that.