Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
- Marianne Willliamson, from her book A Return to Love
‘Noor Kids’ is a children’s Muslim identity and confidence building program. Amin Aaser, the Executive Director of Noor Kids, wrote an article in the Star Tribune this week. She talked about the difficulty of growing up as a Muslim girl in America after 9/11. As she grew up as one of the few Muslims in a predominantly Christian school, one of her teachers took a special interest in encouraging and helping her. This teacher gave her a copy of the poem above.
This speaks to us as Christians, and as people of (any) faith. We believe that God created us, and continues to create us as we grow in becoming more confident, and more holy. It is a gift, and a responsibility to recognize it in ourselves. It is also a gift and responsibility to encourage and reaffirm it in others. Our Muslim friends may be feeling especially vulnerable these days. Aside from the issues of faith and culture, most people carry burdens we don’t know. Don’t be afraid to share your power of compassion, kindness and love. You are a holy offspring of God!