The Art of Mirriam Neal

//I choose to be the moon

Tired. Exhausted. Worn out. These are the adjectives I would use to describe my soul right now – and not just mine, but the collective soul of everyone around me. Everyone is stressed, everyone wishes they could just rest somewhere until they felt energized and inspired again. Nothing is easy, and each day seems to add on more weight. My social media feed is filled with angry political arguments, or those desperately attempting to make peace. I start out the day feeling fine and halfway through the day I just want to curl up in a blanket fort and watch every Studio Ghibli movie consecutively.

My family is here for me. My spirit-wife Arielle and my best friend Lauren are here for me. But I’m used to being there for others, too, and lately I’ve felt, more or less, like I wasn’t ‘doing my job.’ I’m supposed to be the one helping other people, uplifting other people, encouraging other people. Instead, I’m tired. I’m struggling with my confidence in writing, although my novel is coming along well (and I’m even enjoying it). I’m struggling with my confidence in art, in my ability to be a kind person under pressure.

Last night, after all the lights were out, sat down on my bed and I prayed. It wasn’t much of a prayer, but I confessed I wasn’t feeling like I was doing my job. Whatever light I have that I’m supposed to share was too dim, and a dim light equals a useless me. As I sat there in the dark, a single phrase came to me – I am the light of the world. And I blinked in surprise, because wait just a diddly-darn second.

That was the problem, and the answer. I had been relying on myself and my own light, but the trouble with personal light is there’s only so much of it. Personal light can flicker out when the oil runs low. Personal light can be depleted. And yet here I was, exhausted with my seeming inability to do the work I feel like I’m supposed to do, because I was doing it all wrong.

I remember a tacky glow-in-the-dark tee shirt that was all the rage in Christian stores back when I was thirteen or fourteen. (It might still be all the rage; I wouldn’t know.) It was one of those itchy, thick cotton tees and on the front it proclaimed ‘be the moon’ and on the back it finished, ‘reflect the Son.’ Cheesy, right? Very. And if you’re going to make a ‘Christian statement’ you might put it on soft cotton, I’m just saying.

But as tacky as the shirt was, the statement was one that stuck with me.

I am not the light of the world, He is. I am only one person; He is the God of the universe. I’ve been relying on my meager flame to ‘light thousands’ and wondering why I felt so drained and used-up.

And so my prayer to get me through the current climate isn’t grand or complicated – it’s only a request to reflect. To stop relying on myself, to stop thinking I can light up the world alone, because I can’t. Nobody can. So I choose to be a conductor, to reflect Him and not myself. I choose to be the moon.

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