We need a drumroll to get this started. It is the first blog post of the year 2021. Wooohhhoooo can you believe??? We are in 2021. It is amazing that we have been able to get through all that was 2020. But we have and we have conquered and we have ushered in a new year.
I know a lot of us are looking at this new year with trepidation but as I have always said..it is how we respond that matters and our mindset is very important so let’s choose to look at 2021 with optimism and joy because either way, we can’t change much so let’s err on the side of positivity.
As this is a new year, I will be ushering it in in a somewhat different style. Not so different but different. Ha ha ah! You get me, right? I had no intention of going this way but as we have come to know, we are truly not in control of some things and I for one, I am glad to say this is something that I can leave to our Lord.
“Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark.”Unknown
As the year that was 2020 was ending, I was in a place of indifference. I know, I know! But honestly, that is where I was. I was not excited and I was not sad. I was just there, kind of waiting, wondering but then in the last few days of the year 2020. A theme emerged that honestly I know was divine inspired. I even wrote about it in the last blog post for 2020.I never would have come up with it on my own because I was at a place where me and God were dealing with some issues and I was not willing to listen to Him.
But as mighty and caring as our God is, He gently probed me over and over and I kept coming across this message in various groups and places until I just had to accept and listen. Today is actually the first day I sat down to pray about it and just meditate on the word that He had given me and boy oh boy, did he speak. I am so grateful that even when I am whining and not happy with Him, He still loves me and speaks to me.
Theme: Let Your Light Shine
14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
As I was praying and meditating on this word, I felt the Lord opening my eyes to various revelations in this passage and I just had to share it. This is my theme for 2021: To let my light shine. I am an ambivert who really likes her space. But also with all that has happened in my life, I have allowed it to make me curl up in a shell like a tortoise and hide there. Afraid of the light even if I can see it, right there before me. I had chosen to stay in my comfort space of darkness-not shining nor even receiving any light. But this year 2021. This is changing. This has changed. I am letting my light shine.
So lets break these verses down. What exactly do they mean?
“You are the light of the world.”
I am the light! That is present tense. It is not past tense of I was the light or future tense of I am going to be the light. It means that right now, where I am, exactly as I am, I am already the light. I do not need to be someone else or try to be something else. I am already the light because I was created by God to be the light so whether I feel it or not, I am the light! I am a brand. The light in me distinguishes me from all other lights or brands. I give off this particular kind of light so that people can see, so that they can be guided and led along a right path. I diminish all the darkness.
“A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. “
I am a city. This stumped me a bit. I am a city? What exactly is a city? According to Wikipedia, A city is a large human settlement. It can be defined as a permanent and densely settled place with administratively defined boundaries whose members work primarily on non-agricultural tasks. Cities generally have extensive systems like housing or transport.
This means that I, Patricia Opio, am a permanent dwelling with defined boundaries. I have defined values and principles. I have my shape, my stories-spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, personality and experiences that make up who I am. I have characteristics that are unique to only me. There is no other person on this planet or even was or ever will be that is like me. I am a unique being in every way with a system that has been designed just for me. I am an original design.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has something to tell from their lives, experiences and life events that mean a lot, which has shaped your values, guided you through the choices you have made in life and made you into who you are today. It’s a giftMarie Bennet
A Hill that cant be hidden
“A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.“
As a unique original being with a particular design, I am built on a hill. This reminded me of a mountain. Imagine being built on Mt Kiliminjaro. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world: 5,895 metres above sea level and about 4,900 metres above its plateau base.
Do you actually think Mt Kilimanjaro can be hidden? Nop…it can be seen from far away ,even space. And that is who I am. That is who you are. You can not be hidden. But it even gets better because you have to ask yourself what mountain am I built on? This brings us to the seven mountains of influence.
What is the seven mountains of influence? Johnny Enlow in his book, The Seven Mountain Prophecy describes seven culture-shaping areas of influence over each society—media, government, education, economy, family, religion, and celebration (arts and entertainment)—that are the keys to taking a nation for the kingdom of God.
He goes on to say that each of us has been called to influence the world on a particular or many mountains. I have been called to influence the mountain of arts and entertainment and media. This is the creative economy. I have been talking about this over and over again but it is because I know that this where I have been called. Now the question is which mountain have you been called to influence?
Under a Bowl? No!!!
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. “
When electricity goes off like it always does in Uganda, when you light a candle or lamp, do you put it under a bowl? No, we do not. I actually place it high up on a cupboard so it can light everywhere. That’s what we do and yet as people, we hide our light. We cover it with our fears and doubts. The past. The stories we tell ourselves. We enter a shell like a tortoise. And you know what, we do not need to beat ourselves up over all that. It has happened. But now it’s in the past. We are not going to do that anymore. I am not going to do that anymore.
On a lampstand
I am going to be put on my stand, my lampstand. But what is this lampstand? In the bible, Exodus 25,God gave detailed instructions about a golden lampstand that was to be placed in the tabernacle. It was to be made of gold, fashioned as a tree with the base and center shaft representing the trunk and with three branches on the side.
This is a platform from which the lamp is placed so that it can stand securely and shine its light. It took awhile for me to understand this but I realized that my platform is Digital media. All that I do will be through digital media platforms like social media, media sharing and knowledge/digital learning platforms. This is what I will be using to get my story out, to get my message out. I am going to be placed on my lampstand and stand out! Stand out my friend!!!
“Its all about not apologizing for yourself in situations where you stand out. Instead, I think that you should emphasize these differences and work even more on them instead of taking a step back and hiding them. It is actually those differences that are your personal brand and make up your identity and image.Marie Bennet
Who’s in the house?
But who will I be getting my story/light out to? And it gives light to everyone in the house. Who is the everyone in the house? The house that I am in that I am part of, the family I have chosen to be with. That for me is women and creatives- individuals or brands.
I have run away from women. I am not a feminist. I have never understood that concept and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. It just felt so cliché. But now I have come to realize that it’s not about feminism or gender wars. It’s just about women. Simple! Who I am as a woman and what I have to offer the world in my various roles and capacities.
I want to help other women embrace who they are as they are so that they can offer themselves to the world authentically. And that goes for creatives as well. As a creative, I understand our struggle to be understood and thrive in our creative practice. I believe that when we understand who we are and embrace our story, only and only then can our creative potential be unlocked and we can design an authentic and purpose-driven brand.
Let Your Light Shine
“In the same way, let your light shine before others.“
It was interesting to read the word, ”Let”. This told me that I have a choice. I can let my light shine or I can let my light dim. It was up to me. The light is already there because I am already a light but was I going to shine or not? You would think that it is an easy decision to make? It is not. After years of telling yourself that you are not worthy, that you have nothing to offer and now realizing how wrong you were, it takes a lot to rewrite the script. To believe that you are more and bold enough to step out.
That’s what 2021 is about- Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Seen. #BeAuthenticallyYou. So I make the decision to let my light shine and not just shine but shine so brightly thus ladies and gentlemen, get out the sunglasses ‘coz you are going to need it.
See Your Good Deeds= Glorify God
‘That they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
By following our purpose, it is inevitable that you will have good deeds because that is what purpose is about. It is not about me and me. It is about us and we. We walk in our purpose impacting ourselves and others. That’s just how it works. People will see your good deeds because you are walking in your calling and purpose and you know what, they will glorify God.
They will do so because they will understand that you or me do not do all that we do in our power, we do not shine the light in our power. No, it is Christ in us that enables us to do what we do. It is Christ in us that is shining through us. He is the ultimate light of the world. And we are his vessels. So naturally All Glory belongs to our Lord.
So 2021…I have nothing more to say but LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE!! Because you know what, that’s who we are. This is Me!
“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 is 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 are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”Marianne Williamson