We’ve heard it, read about it, there are even songs about it. Let your light shine. The concept is beautiful. The idea that your soul is so radiant that it lights up a room. A small light can illuminate something to read or to help find a lost item in the dark. Light drives out darkness. In other ways, light could be seen as nourishment. No one ever knows if they are the one that gets to share the Gospel or simply water a seed that hopefully one day brings someone to the Father.
While all of this is wonderful, what does it actually mean. I googled practical ways to shine your light. Surely, someone has covered this and at least what appears on google isn’t what I would call shining anything. It was truly meme worthy. It’s as if we want to eat at Chick-fil-A and shop at Hobby Lobby and save the world. When I looked I found suggestions of adding Bible verses to your decor and listening to Christian music while in earshot of someone else. After looking at the results, the best practical advice was simply being a positive person.
It’s my opinion that this kind of advice is the problem. We want to be able to cut someone off, flip them off while they look at our fish bumper sticker. Shining light is doing something with intention. It’s action. It’s also love. This is a struggle for me. As an introvert I truly love people but I don’t want to be around a lot of people. That simply doesn’t sound loving to most people. It’s “actioned love” that makes a difference. Just as Jesus’ love doesn’t change everyone, not everything I list here will produce results, but these are the areas that I’ve seen truly life giving and light bringing in the workplace.
Choose Your Words Carefully
The best advice on shining your light that I read in my search was to be positive. More important than just being positive, is truly capturing the Ephesians 4:29 version of encouragement. For me that means no more cursing, no more sarcasm (at least aimed at people), and being incredibly sensitive to how direct I am. I’m not a perfect example but I’ve had unbelievers apologize to me for cussing because they assumed I was a devout Christian simply because I didn’t drop a “F-bomb” in every sentence. In rare cases, after this kind of comment, it allowed me a conversation about faith that would not have been there otherwise.
Ask For Forgiveness (Repent)
When I sat down to write this I thought about what was the most powerful light I’ve ever witnessed personally. I often do things that I regret. It’s almost daily. When working with others I can say something often too quickly. What blows me away is the response I’ve seen when I simply ask for forgiveness. It is something that you don’t see in workplace. No one wants to apologize because that’s an admission of guilt. Admitting your wrong jeopardizes your status at work, your potential to receive a raise and potentially your furture. However, it’s the one thing I’ve done that where I’ve seen the largest impact.
Forgiveness (usually) melts the walls of your coworkers. It reveals humility, often on both sides. It can clear the air and at times open the door.
I’ve received so much grace from God, yet I never want to give it to coworkers or employees. I assume the best from me but assume the worst from them. This is one area I struggle mightily in. People make mistakes, often. I know I do. When someone offends you offer grace. Forgive freely. If God can forgive me for the many things I’ve done, then I can certainly forgive an employee when they ask me a question without trying to find out the answer for themselves.
Shining light is essentially, living love. How do you shine light in the workplace? By not being easily offended, by being willing to repent, and choosing the words you use. What comes out of the mouth is often reflective of what’s in the heart. I’m sure there are other practical ways to show love in the work place that are more than superficial.
Share your stories of actionable love and shining light here! I’d love to hear from you about a time you did “shined light” that made a difference in the workplace.