SGLY: A bigger purpose
Second thoughts about our bed and breakfast location surface when I look at the gift upon my pillow. Instead of a pairing of chocolates, there is a pair of earplugs with this little note: Here in Jefferson, we love the rumbling of the trains as they travel through this historic town, but if they tend to keep you awake, maybe these will help.
That evening I would discover that the train track is located just beyond the property’s tree line. Amazing what a tree line can hide — and what it cannot hide.
The following day I notice a lantern in the shape of a small church hanging from one of the trees. The morning sun reflects bright against its weather-stained panes, making it appear lit. Upon further inspection, however, it is evident that this lantern has not been used for its intended purpose in an exceptionally long time: it has become a nesting ground for debris. Gleaming outside and deceptively insular inside — I imagine we have all known a church or two like this in our lifetime. This thought alone leaves me disheartened.
My disappointments are interrupted by a comment from my mother. “This makes up for a fitful night,” she says.
I turn to look at her. She appears as tired as I am. Last night’s train was just as loud to my ears as it was to hers. Her eyes notice the tainted lantern in the shape of a church just as much as my own. Yet, she is not fixating on the things that frustrate her; rather, she remarks on the singing of the birds.
I hear the birds — they are background noise to my disgruntled thoughts. I had not given their sound enough attention for it to become music. My eyes rest on my mother’s soft smile, and in her contentment, I am humbled.
What is my bigger purpose? How am I any different than the weather-stained lantern if I keep my warrior spirit dormant and reflect the worries and cynicism of the world? God loves me too much for me to remain small in my thinking, in my doing, and in my loving.
“Don’t shine so that others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him.” – C.S. Lewis
A soul-full light glows differently than a soul that can only reflect light. As followers of Christ Jesus, our glow is not dependent upon what the world takes or gives, the acceptance or reaction of another, or that which can be seen or hidden. Instead, the eternal light of Christ refines us, clears the debris, creating in us a clean heart and a renewing of a right spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).
The well-being and intentionality of our focus affects the strength of the light we radiate. Even surrounded by discouragement, we can maintain a Christ-like state of mind. It is possible to choose our focus. It is possible to choose the source of our light.
Our purpose is bigger than what discourages us. May we be joy seekers and sowers of His love, eliminating excuses to live fixated on criticisms and our critics.
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).
My mom’s smile inspires one of my own, and I cannot help but be immensely grateful for her ability to hear what I chose to disregard. I silence my thoughts. Somewhere in the background a train passes as an old lantern swings on a branch. But all I hear is music — the birds’ serenade.
“Yes,” I reply. “This does make up for a fitful night.”
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.