Saturday, May 19, 2007

Our Deepest Fear

In the movie Akeelah and the Bee, which I recently reviewed, Akeelah's spelling coach, Dr. Larabee, has her read this poem which he has hanging on his wall. After the movie, I had to go look it up for myself. I've often heard the first two lines quoted but that was all. I found that it is most often credited to Nelson Mandela, who was actually quoting the author in his inaugural speech.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And when we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson

When I first read it, my immediate reaction was "Well, this doesn't apply to me - I certainly don't fear being powerful beyond measure'!" But this line: "We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" grabbed my attention and the answer: "who are we not to be?" keeps drumming through my mind. It sounds a bit arrogant and presumptuous, unless we believe that our value, our sense of worth and who we are, is endowed upon us by the awesome Creator of the universe.

I think about the things I fear (intimacy, rejection, failure) and I think Satan is quite content when he succeeds in keeping me preoccupied with those things. What if I really feared God as I should? Do I fear being powerful beyond measure . . . acknowledging that in and of myself I am nothing, but empowered by God, the possibilities are limitless? Do I fear emptying myself of myself and being filled with his spirit? What if he was truly in control of every area of my life?

I believe in weighing each and every thing I read (or watch) on it's own merits. Additionally I try to read critically, and allow myself to disagree with parts of a book or article without throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water. This has allowed me to appreciate value in much that years ago I would have discounted in its entirety. This poem is one of those things. I probably won't be rushing out to buy anything by this author; nevertheless, this poem made me stop and think . . . and I'm still thinking about it.

And now you know . . . I think way - too - much! Hey, it's free!


gail said...

I think is the mark of a teacher when you can take something like a poem and get a good spiritual lesson out of it! Don does that, we'll see a movie and if friends are with us, they know they'll hear it in Sunday school eventually.
Our worth is great to Christ, although I don't think I always act like that. And that part about Satan being content with us being preoccupied, so true I think.
Enjoyed reading this Dianne! Enjoyed the movie too!

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

I have this quote on my wall, near my desk. I also first heard it in Akelah, one of my favorite movies. I quoted it today, in part, on my blog about moms following God's call on their life.
some mornings, I read it out loud, to remind myself to let my light shine!

Jennifer said...

I agree with you. I love looking at a book or movie that does not have a Christian worldview, but filtering it through my own.

I don't know if I told you, but I DID watch the movie, based on your recommendation, and I also loved, loved it!