By Aj Luck
Thursday, July 6, 2017
It was an innocent trip to Wal-Mart. I just needed sunscreen. I stood there in the sunscreen “section” of the store and I wanted to cry. COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED.
Off-brands; Name-brands; SPF’s; Chemical free; Spray; Lotion; Kids; Sports; Things that look like glue sticks; Scented; Unscented; Value packs; Clear; Colored; All day coverage; Waterproof!
I just wanted one container of SOMETHING to protect myself from the sun. Frustrated, I left the store with a bag of peanut M&M’s and a Diet Coke. No sunscreen.
Sitting in my living room, nursing my Diet Coke and poppin M&M’s like movie theater popcorn, I started thinking about how life is a lot like the sunscreen aisle. I want to shine bright for Jesus, but I need my heart to be protected.
I mean, what if I get hurt? How do I open my heart, to really let the SON flood in without the dreaded spiritual sunburn?
Feelings of unworthiness and anxiety began welling up inside of me. The waves of What if’s started washing over my mind: What do I need to do? What do I need to say? What if I mess things up?
What if people don’t like what I have to say? What if I don’t “shine” enough for Him? What if I fail miserably? What if I lose friends? What if I look weird?
Have you ever gotten sunburnt before? I mean REALLY sunburnt? The kind where it hurts to wear clothes, take a shower or get a good night’s sleep? The kind where you have to bathe in Aloe Vera or Noxema! I have. It’s NOT FUN.
Have you ever been spiritually sunburnt? Hurt by those who you trusted? Christians? People who grossly misrepresented Jesus to you, leaving you disappointed. Me too.
Sadly, I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of that coin. I’m not proud of it. I’m ashamed. If I’m being totally honest, It makes me a little apprehensive at times, to go out there and shine again. However… I keep pressing forward.
No matter what has happened in the past, I can’t let it dictate my future.
Only Jesus gets to do that.
The fact that I got a bad sunburn (more than once) during my lifetime, doesn’t stop me from going to the beach or enjoying being outside. The sunburn served as a reminder to protect myself BEFORE going out into the sun.
I encourage you to keep showing up. Stand up strong in the SON. Tilt your face towards Him. Know that you are no longer standing in your own strength, but His. Trust Him to heal the deep wounds within. Ask Him to replace the shattered pieces of your heart. Trust that HE will protect you. Stand tall and shine bright.
That’s what he made us to do!
"For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.” Acts 13:47 NASB
Today, take notice of those around you. Be intentional. Look at them. Compliment them. Smile at them. Shine a little light into their lives from the light within yours. You never know the battles they may be facing.
Dear Lord, Thank You for loving me. Heal the areas of my heart that are still tender. Help me to stand strong in You, to shine bright for You, to reflect You to the world around me, so that You alone may be glorified. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2017 by Aj Luck. All rights reserved.
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