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Last year was fraught with stress, pressure, hurt, questions, doubts, frustrations…you name it!  In fact the last few years for us were pretty stressful in one way or another and brought some disappointments here and there.  That’s the way it is for everyone, I know, it just seemed to be ultra concentrated for a while.  My heart was gasping for God like suffocating lungs for oxygen.  I had to hear His voice, tried to find Him day after day and be near Him.

In this new chapter of life we’ve just started many of those pressures have been relieved.  Life feels a little easier right now.  The only problem is, how do I stay so intimately connected to God like I was before?  It seems I searched for Him more fervently when I didn’t know where the resources to meet our needs in each day were coming from or when I felt so at a loss for solutions that I simply fell into Him in hope that He had them ready.

It’s not like I want to go back, no, no, no, I just want that closeness with God that truly, most vividly seems to result from times of trouble.  It’s much more difficult to fully lean on Him, talk with Him, listen to Him, rely on Him when things are going well than when I’m desperate.

I’ve also been feeling a growing pressure to make a difference.  The pressure and accompanying guilt are palpable when I look around me, wherever I am, at all the people who don’t know Jesus at all.  I look at them and think, how can I make a difference in their lives?  They don’t even know me, I don’t know them.

I really don’t think the most effective way to share my faith is striking up a conversation with a complete stranger and launching into what Jesus has done for me.  If He leads me to that, I’ll do it – it just doesn’t seem to be the best way.

It can be overwhelming, this sense of people who are lost and don’t even know it.  So many people are depending on themselves or other people to make it and are hurting, feeling disappointed and let down, or simply confused.  I think lots of them feel they’re fine but don’t realize what they’re missing without a relationship with God in their life.  A richer, purposeful, more “alive” life is available and they just don’t know.

This morning in my devotional time I read several verses about Jesus being the light of the world.  Jesus is the light, not me.  All I’m supposed to do is live in His light and reflect.  Reflecting doesn’t take great effort does it?  If I was going to reflect light with a mirror, I’d just hold it up to a light.  I wouldn’t have to exert extreme energy trying to get the light to reflect, it just would because that’s the nature of light in this world God gave us.  However, if the mirror I’m holding is too far from the light, it won’t be doing any reflecting.

If I can keep myself right next to Jesus, even in these seemingly easier times, then His light should reflect off of me to the people around me.  That should help in making a difference.  I don’t have to try to shine the light to show them the way, I just reflect Jesus as He fills every place in my heart and life with his brilliant, inextinguishable, life-giving light.

Now, Lord, how do I go about staying close to you even when thing are easy?  Please show me.  I’m really not asking for trials or times like last year.  Whatever it takes, though, make me desperate for you always.

You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16  The Message

But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day …the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.  II Corinthians 3:14-17  NLT

[Jesus said] “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  John 8:12  NLT