or... Rise and Shine!
What does that phrase mean? Does it mean to ignore your early morning grogginess and make your best effort to smile? I hope not. In most cases, that wouldn't be pretty. Does it mean to begin each day with enthusiasm? Hey! I like that idea. But, can you force it if you don't feel it?
Perhaps it means something more. I like to think of it as meaning to intentionally change so as to mature and inspire. I need to be careful of lateral growth. I really don't need another extremity! Yet, I can often find myself thinking small, as if I'm afraid of the light that is within me. That light can inspire others to grow without my even trying. Exposing my light can give them permission, hope, and courage to introspect and discover their own light. Imagine how bright the world could be!
Deep down, I know the characteristics of maturity: integrity, humility, generosity, wisdom, thoughtfulness, godliness, etc. On the surface, the child within me frequently holds me back. He is afraid he will get left behind. He worries that his needs have gone, and will continue to go, unmet. But, I only need to embrace him and ensure him that he'll be right by my side, close to my heart. I will love and protect him. I also love the quote, "Everyone has a Higher Power, and you're not it." It reminds me that there is a huge chasm between saying I believe in God and actually believing Him. Acknowledging Him through prayer, meditation, worship, and study of scripture, is a key aspect in the growth of my soul. Otherwise, I find that it was merely my ego that expanded.
What is light? In a word, truth. What is my light? The truth as it applies to my experiences: past, present, and future. I must remember, however, that I can never truly relive my past, nor am I truly alive in a period for which the time has not yet come. Life is always in the present. I can learn from the past. I can hope and plan for the future. The more I am in the present, the more I am alive, and the more I am alive, the brighter my light and the longer its tail.
Yes, rise and shine is a daily reminder. But, it means more than smiling or forcing enthusiasm at the dawn of each day. To me, rise and shine is a personal and powerful invitation to be the man I was created to be, even if it scares me. I've heard that courage is not the absence of fear, but being afraid and doing the fearful thing anyway. I pray that God will grant me the strength and courage to accept and fully embrace such an invitation. That is the essence of my daily prayer.
By the way, the early bird gets the worm, but the worm gets no sleep. I'd choose the early bird. What's your choice?