Shine bright, shine far! Be a star! Where you live, where you are… be a star! Shine bright, shine far! Be a star! Where you live, where you are, be a staaaar!
That song is sung by Tyra Banks in the movie Lifesize, but it is still inspirational and applicable to this blog.
Being a light in a dark world is a recurring theme in the Bible (Matthew 5:13-16, Romans 13:11-14, Ephesians 5:8, John 9:5, Acts 13:47, should I go on?), as well as a theme at Nyack College. Nyack prides itself on preparing its students on how to not only live and survive in this world, but how to thrive and be a light. Contrary to belief, you can still be a light in this world with a non-theology related degree because everyone is called for a different purpose. Receiving your Psychology, English, Communications, Social Work, Business, or Nursing degree under the helpful tutelage of professors who strive to put God’s agenda ahead of their own and aim for students to do the same teaches students how to be a light while working in otherwise “worldly” fields.
Throughout this summer, I watched both my friends and myself be lights in dark places. One of my friends spent her summer working at a children’s camp upstate. She said she was growing immensely spiritually and loved contributing to the kid’s lives in a positive way. Another one of my friends also worked at a camp, but in Guatemala. While I didn’t get the chance to leave the city much this summer, I was challenged to be a light as well.
A couple months ago, I was invited to the beach by a couple of my coworkers. (Honestly, I only said I would go because they were my friends at work. I love the beach, but I don’t like sand a lot. It gets everywhere.) We had a great time and talked and laughed, but when the conversation turned to how and where to buy alcohol and find some marijuana, I had to quickly find my footing in the situation. I had to put my foot down and keep it glued down. I had to stand up for what I personally did not feel comfortable doing and be the light in that moment. I thought, ‘What if I’m the only example of a Christian that they have or will encounter? Are they going to say that Christians act just like everyone else? What’s the point in being one?’ No. I want them to be able to say that they knew something was different by the way I acted, the way I spoke, and the peaceful presence surrounding me. This is how we are impactful as lights in this world – by our actions. I’m grateful that the past year at Nyack has helped me get a grip on my status as a light for Him and that the upcoming year will do the same, not just for me, but for you, too.