Tag Archives: encouraging

It’s Time to Turn On Your Shine!

iGnite - let your light shine

Point to Ponder:
Are you a light to those around you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Excitingly, last Tuesday our kiddos (Durant, 4 & Malaine, 2) attended their first week of pre-school in San Diego. You. have. no. idea. how thrilled I was! Not just for me and my own sanity, but for theirs too. I was excited that we could begin establishing a routine, they could start making friends, their world was expanding beyond “mom,” and I could have a little freedom.

The pre-school they are attending is at the church we attend, The Rock, and it’s in an area near downtown called Point Loma. Like all of San Diego (including the neighborhood we live in), it’s full of a very diverse group of people. Ironically, moving to a more diverse neighborhood was actually something that my husband Russell and I considered while living in Austin before we knew we were moving to San Diego. Now, I realize that our interest was more than just coincidence — rather, it was God opening and preparing our hearts and minds for our future environment.

So, Tuesday was their first day of school and it was an exceptional day for all of us. Absolutely, my heart was a bit unsettled and nervous, but I knew it was necessary for feeling grounded, creating relationships and for our overall growth and development. Then on Thursday, after dropping them off and while filling out paperwork in the school, a heavy dose of loneliness blindsided me out of nowhere. As I I looked around, everything felt unfamiliar. I’m just gonna be honest and say it — no one looked like me (how about that “don’t judge a book by its cover” fail!?). Unlike at the Mother’s Day Out my children attended in Austin, I do not have a relationship with the director, the teachers or any of the moms here. Seriously, I was on the verge of tearing up when out of the blue a random woman walked up, noticed my Stronger TogetHER tank [that I was of course proudly wearing 🙂 ] and said, “I really like your shirt! What’s that about?” I perked up and gave her the 15 second description of iGnite, ending with “we are community-based and believe that in all aspects of life, we are stronger togerHER.” She then enthusiastically invited me to join the women’s Bible study called SHINE. Shine – wow!  What an encouraging, happy and powerful word!

That word shine made an impression on me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. By definition, the word shine means to give out a bright light. As I looked more into ‘shining,’ I was reminded of a sermon I heard by preacher Francis Chan about how a silversmith gets his best, shiniest silver through a process called “testing.” The testing process starts with raw silver in a pot and a fire that is heated to the highest possible temperature. As the silver melts, the impurities rise to the top, at which the silversmith scrapes off the impurities and continues the same process of extreme heat and scraping the impurities off until he or she has the shiniest possible piece of metal — so shiny that they can see their own reflection in it.

What I find remarkable is how this process relates to life and the hardships, stresses, losses, disappointments and discomforts that we all must experience in order to shine. That with the right attitude and perspective, those scary and seemingly ‘unfair’ experiences actually produce maturity, perseverance, faith and wisdom in us so we can shine for others. That’s the part that I was forgetting about on Thursday in my moment of self-pity. I was so consumed by my own discomfort that I was forgetting about my responsibility to shine for others. I had to step outside of myself and my self-pity in order to see the big picture.

Author Marianne Williamson says is perfectly below, suggesting that when we shine, we give others permission to shine:

“Our deepest fear isn’t that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that are more powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, how are you not to be? You are here for a reason! Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson

Action Item:
If you are currently experiencing hard or stressful times, just remember, you are going through the testing process so you can shine even brighter on the other side. If you don’t have the energy or even the hope to shine, find someone that is shining and allow their shine to brighten yours.
Or, if life is feeling great and you have plenty of shine to give, in all of your interactions, conversations and even casual passings-by, make it a priority to shine. It’s our responsibility to and for others who are not shining to gain strength from our glow. So let’s shine as brightly as we can so others can be inspired and encouraged to shine as well!

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Live With No Guarantees

Vulnerability pushed, I pushed back. I lost the fight — but probably won my life back.

-Brené Brown

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

As mentioned a few weeks ago, myself and eleven other iGnite leaders and members attended the Texas Conference for Women. BrenĂ© Brown, an inspirational researcher and story teller, was one of the keynote speakers who spoke on the power of vulnerability. I must be honest, my first reaction to vulnerability is weakness, because if you’re vulnerable you are weak and cowardly, right? But, it wasn’t until BrenĂ© described it in her terms that I completely grasped the full power and potential of vulnerability, which is brilliant!

One of the stories BrenĂ© told was about a young man who randomly stopped her after watching her talk on TED.com. He explained that her talk inspired him to tell his girlfriend that he loved her; however, his vulnerable moment didn’t turn out as he had hoped. His girlfriend did not return the enduring gesture and told him they should see other people.

Unfortunately, this young man’s story didn’t end the way he had hoped, but I absolutely think he did the right thing. Obviously, this girl wasn’t the one he was supposed to be with and, as we all know, experiencing a broken heart is part of life and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Furthermore, if we lead and live our lives with our whole hearts, meaning we get out of our logical and non-risk-taking heads, disappointment and heartache may certainly be an occasional result, however we will live with no regrets nor “what if’s” and live a life filled with joy!

In essence, whether or not we lead with our heads or our hearts, life will always be filled with distressing moments that can and will harden our hearts and cause us to avoid taking risks and experience potential failure. However, to use the words of BrenĂ©, which are also heard in the video of the week, “Stop controlling and predicting, and do something with no guarantees.” Dang that’s good stuff and I highly encourage you to take the twenty minutes and watch this life-changing (and funny) talk!

Point To Ponder:
Do previous disappointments prevent you from taking risks and enjoying life to the fullest?

Action Item:
Do something that you have always wanted to do but fear has prevented you from doing so.