Growth begins with darkness. Perhaps the scariest journey we can take is the one that leads inward. It’s dark and for many of us it’s foreign. There is little to comfort us as we’ve left the inner, deepest parts of us unexplored for years. We have an idea of what’s there, but it’s hard to tell which is more foreboding, the known or the unknown. It was at this very precipice I found myself the other night. At the edge of the cliff I stood trembling, but I took the only path that leads to life. Into the darkness I plunged.

But I’m already alive. In a sense, yes, we all are. However, precious few of us are truly alive in the sense that we are fully awakened to the full truth of God and who we are in that context. Being alive is a genuine awareness of who God really is and a lifestyle that seeks to spread the good news implied in this revelation. People alive are immediately recognizable in the most crowded of rooms. No, you are probably not alive.

We travel inwards to reach others. This paradox breaks down to the simple fact that we cannot give to others if we have nothing to offer them. Let me clarify, it is not that you are selling something about yourself here. No, if we want to pull others from the wreckage of this world, we must first have a way to pull them out as well as a knowledge of where safety is. If we are not right with God within ourselves, how can we help others with this great task? So, we must journey first within ourselves.

Here’s the jumping off point. Every journey must start somewhere, so here’s where I started. Find a quiet place where you can be perfectly alone and write down every fear, doubt, insecurity that comes to mind. Write down the big, the small, the significant and the silly. Write down everything that comes to mind. Write until you can write no more. Here’s the fun part: burn it. Take delight in watching your list burn. Now, pray. Pray like you’ve never prayed before. Pray as if your life depended on it. Remind yourself of God’s promises (google some if you have to) and ask Him to remind you as well.

You’re free. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you have been freed from all the negativity of this world. It has no bearing on who you are. However, you’ve been freed so that you may live as such. Instead, we seem to pile on the shackles of doubt until we can walk no further and we are smothered, snuffed out like a faint candle. You were made to shine. So, do it! Cast aside all those weights and be unburdened once more as you were meant to be. Shine with an intensity the world has scarcely seen.

Why are you downtrodden? Why have you resigned yourself to the drudgery of this existence? Yes, life is tough, but it was never meant to be indefinite misery. We are lovingly called every day to joy through the breezes and the stillness. Yet, we ignore the gentle call. We don’t know where to begin and we are terrified of what we might find. It is no worse than anyone else. Those that have gone before you survived just fine and so will you. Friend, this state is not befitting someone of the royal family of God. Cast off your burdens and live alight with the truth of God’s freedom bought and paid long ago for you. Though it’s daunting, it is necessary as growth begins with darkness.