Ready, set … SHINE!

By Casey Fedde

It's November and time to let our light -- God's light -- shine. Holidays, midterms, and projects are fast approaching, so it is no time to be lazy. As mentioned last month, "Take charge of each day and celebrate!" What better way to celebrate than to give 100% of ourselves every day.

However, it can be hard to give it our all when others around us are not giving it their all. Others' laziness and lack of effort can sometimes make us react with irritation or anger. It can also make us more likely to blend in with the crowd and not show our best effort.

When we're tempted not to do our best, we need to heed the advice Paul gave to the people in Thessalonica (all citations are from The Message, II Thess.):

[G]et to work immediately -- no excuses, no arguments -- and earn [your] own keep. Friends, don't slack off in doing your duty. (The Message, II Thess. 3:12, 13)

Dealing with peer pressure, wanting to fit in, trying to be cool, and competing with others to be in the spotlight can make us lose site of how special we are. Paul stresses:

God picked you out as his from the very start. (2:14)

And we've already "got our hands full continually thanking God" (2:13), so why add more to our load by competing with others? By putting 100% of ourselves in everything we do, there is no need to seek approval or validation from others. There is no need to compete! Competition, or rivalry, is a form of testing skills to find a victor, which implies that one is greater than another. But all God's children are equal. And all God's children are equally supplied:

Our God gives you everything you need, makes you everything you're to be. (1:2)

Struggling with competition or laziness can be tough.

So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech. (2:15-17)

Let's ground ourselves with God, give 100% every day, and really let our light SHINE!