Again this week, God’s idea for what I should share about shining is vastly different than my plan. Tuesday morning, I felt His Spirit convict me, “Liz, why are you faking your shine?”
My footsteps were slow and heavy as I trudged up the stairs. The perfect storm of less than desirable events and a difficult discussion with someone I love had me feeling defeated and down. I stripped off my pajamas (by pajamas I mean yoga pants and a t-shirt) and tossed them high on the shelf in the closet, hoping I’d remember they were there that evening. I searched the rack of hanging tops for something bright and cheerful. I twisted my hair up on top of my head and selected some sparkly accessories. I covered my blemishes, powdered my nose, and added some rosy color to my cheeks.
Then with my lips parted as I leaned in close to the mirror about to drag the bristles of the wand through my left eye lashes, I realized what I was doing.
Faking My Shine
I felt like I had to fake my shine for the ladies in my Bible study. I thought I had to put on a good face to prove how good God is. I assumed I had to be on top of the world to show the world who the Boss is. I aimed to show them how blessed I am, so they would see how much God loves me. I wanted to polish my look so I might appear more shiny.
But shining doesn’t mean we put on a happy face or hike up our big girl panties or pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and hide the hurts in our hearts.
Do we really think that having a bad day might make others question God’s goodness? Subconsciously we seem to assume shining is related to prosperity and success and answered prayers. Or is that just me? But my happiness isn’t what makes me shiny. Holiness is. That is why our hope is in heaven, not our happiness here.
My current afflictions do not negate His constant affection. None of my earthly troubles can separate me from God’s love for me in Christ. And that gives me a reason to shine for real.
“For I am convinced that night death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Share in His Suffering
Too often we are tempted to talk about how good God is without acknowledging how hard life can be. We can’t wait to tell the world how blessed we are when we get what we want or what we’ve prayed for. Because He blesses His people, right? That’s what He does? Gives us our every heart’s desire? It says to right in Psalm 37, doesn’t it?
So why do we constantly see His children endure such hardship? Parenting problems. Messes in marriage. Financial failings. Difficult diagnoses. Friendship flaws. Dashed dreams. Political Peril. Pain. Famine. Loss. Anxiety. Loneliness.
Jesus warned us there’d be trouble.
Then He endured suffering we can hardly imagine. He prayed for His Father to make another way, to let the cup of suffering and death and sacrifice pass from Him. After praying, He endured the shame of the cross for my sins. He suffered most right before His final glorification. Suffering didn’t keep Jesus from shining, so why do we feel like we have to hide the hard in our own lives? Why do we feel like we have to fake our shine?
If God promised we will share in His glory, how can we not also expect to share in His suffering?
Surrender in Suffering
The key to the way Jesus endured His suffering was complete surrender to God’s will in all circumstances. Jesus knew God wouldn’t allow Him to suffer unnecessarily. He trusted His Father’s will was better than what He wanted. Jesus knew there was a higher purpose for His pain. He knew the way to eternal glory was through the suffering that showed him to be completely holy. Jesus prayed that His Father’s will would be done despite His requests.
This is the crux of Psalm 37:4, too.
“Delight in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Delight here is the Hebrew word ‘anag (Strongs H6026) and it can mean be soft or pliable. This makes me think of yielding, surrendering, submitting. When we yield or submit to the Father’s will, our wants become His.
We shine when we are more satisfied with God’s will than our wants. Even when that involves pain on our part.We shine when we are more satisfied with God’s will than our wants. #shine Click To Tweet
The Problem with Faking Your Shine
Fake shine pretends everything is fine right now. Genuine shine comes from knowing God will make everything right in eternity. Glossing over our present problems doesn’t make us shine, but looking beyond our burdens to heaven’s blessings does. Even when temporarily distressed, we are no less eternally blessed.
Fake shine creates frail community. It perpetuates idea that God only gives good things to those who love Him enough or pray properly or have enough faith. If we only tell the world how good God is when we get what we want, what do we say when we don’t get the answers we hoped for, the job, the cure, the masterpiece marriage? How do we respond to those around us in their affliction? Especially as mothers, leaders, influencers, and mentors, if we fake our shine, we’ll teach others to do the same. We’ll show them their suffering makes them look less shiny.
But fake shine fades at the first sign of real life.
Instead we have to acknowledge that real life is hard and accept that God can use hardship to make us holy, like His Son (Romans 8:28).But fake shine fades at the first sign of real life. #shine #dontfakeyourshine Click To Tweet
No Debbie Downers
Now, let’s not take this post as permission to become a bunch of Debbie Downers. We can’t shine if we go around griping and complaining all day. But rather let this be a call for us to let our humility, meekness, gentleness, peace, and stillness shine through an inner strength that bends to God’s will in our lives,
despite the difficulties we face.
Much like gold plated jewelry turns your finger green after a few days, fake shine doesn’t hold up against the rigors of real life. Fake shine is cheap, but faith shine is priceless. Fake shine might make me feel good today, but faith shine is eternal. Fake shine comes from happiness, but faith shine comes from holiness. Faith shine is founded in His sovereignty not my circumstances, His faithfulness not my feelings, His holiness not my happiness, His eternal glory not earthly goodness, His salvation not my suffering, His will not my wants.
The next time you feel like faking your shine, remember:
- Current affliction does not negate God’s constant affection.
- Though temporarily distressed, we are no less eternally blessed.
- God never wastes any suffering, but uses it for good.
- Holiness shines brighter than happiness.
- Our light is fueled by faith, not feelings.
- Shine bright by surrendering to His will, not demanding your way.
I hope you’ll remind me, too!
Can you remember a time when you felt like faking it? What happened? Which of these reminders might help you most next time?6 Ways to Find Genuine Shine When You Feel Like Faking it #shine Click To Tweet
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday.