Monday, July 27, 2009

Glow Sticks

(This post totally steals an idea from my boyfriend, Gary Mitchell, www.myspace.com/visionrise.)

Consider a glow stick. (Bear with me.) Now, erase everything you know about glow sticks. In fact, forget the "glow" part. We'll call them...all right, I can't think of a great name, so just imagine all you know is that these are small liquid-filled plastic sticks.

What uses could you think of for such an object? Today, my youth came up with a few: paperweight, necklace, Christmas tree decoration, action figure stand; you could play catch with it or use it as a toy for your dog to fetch. You can certainly do some things with it.

But we all know what the real purpose of a glow stick is--I mean, it's right there in the name! A glow stick is supposed to glow. And how do we get it to glow?

Exactly. We break it. Until it is broken, a glow stick can never fulfill its real purpose. It can be lots of different things, but never what it was meant to be. With the breaking comes light.

In college, my boyfriend and his roommate had a tradition surrounding glow sticks. Every time someone they knew came to Christ, they would break one. They collected these glow sticks as reminders of their friends who had been broken--who had surrendered to Christ, admitted their sin and need of forgiveness, submitted to the will of God.

The glow stick image goes along well with 2 Corinthians 12:9--"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." In our pain and suffering, God enters in to reconcile us to him and to make us whole in his love. In our brokenness, God shines a light we cannot see when we think we've got everything together.

Earlier this summer, I marked the 2nd anniversary of an extremely painful event. After helping me turn the day into a celebration and helping to give me good memories of that date, Gary brought out a glow stick. I had heard his explanation before, and I admit I had thought it a little cheesy at first. But wept as he broke the stick and gave it to me, saying that he was proud of me and he could see how God was using me in my weakness to serve others.

Today, I did a glow stick demonstration with my youth at the end of a discussion about why bad things happen. Afterwards, I was wearing my sample glow stick around my neck, and a question from one of the kids showed me another dimension to the metaphor: "Can you turn it off?" asked Kristopher. "No. No, you can't." I smiled. Sure, it's an imperfect comparison, because glow sticks do fade...but then again, maybe that's about right. We often need to be reminded of our need of God. Maybe we don't have to be broken drastically over and over again, but faith is not a one-time thing where you get it or you don't--it's a process. Some of us might need to go through Wal-Mart's entire stock of glow sticks before we get it.

3 comments:

Joe Jones said...

I feel like I'm one of those people that will make it through the entire Walmart supply. I do really enjoy the metaphor though. "Let your Soul Glow" :)
-joe

zartenox said...

Nice posts! And your name is cool! ;)
Glowstick

Garetlonex said...

Stolen idea is stolen, but nice! Glowsticks and love? LOL! - Glowstick

Monday, July 27, 2009

Glow Sticks

(This post totally steals an idea from my boyfriend, Gary Mitchell, www.myspace.com/visionrise.)

Consider a glow stick. (Bear with me.) Now, erase everything you know about glow sticks. In fact, forget the "glow" part. We'll call them...all right, I can't think of a great name, so just imagine all you know is that these are small liquid-filled plastic sticks.

What uses could you think of for such an object? Today, my youth came up with a few: paperweight, necklace, Christmas tree decoration, action figure stand; you could play catch with it or use it as a toy for your dog to fetch. You can certainly do some things with it.

But we all know what the real purpose of a glow stick is--I mean, it's right there in the name! A glow stick is supposed to glow. And how do we get it to glow?

Exactly. We break it. Until it is broken, a glow stick can never fulfill its real purpose. It can be lots of different things, but never what it was meant to be. With the breaking comes light.

In college, my boyfriend and his roommate had a tradition surrounding glow sticks. Every time someone they knew came to Christ, they would break one. They collected these glow sticks as reminders of their friends who had been broken--who had surrendered to Christ, admitted their sin and need of forgiveness, submitted to the will of God.

The glow stick image goes along well with 2 Corinthians 12:9--"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." In our pain and suffering, God enters in to reconcile us to him and to make us whole in his love. In our brokenness, God shines a light we cannot see when we think we've got everything together.

Earlier this summer, I marked the 2nd anniversary of an extremely painful event. After helping me turn the day into a celebration and helping to give me good memories of that date, Gary brought out a glow stick. I had heard his explanation before, and I admit I had thought it a little cheesy at first. But wept as he broke the stick and gave it to me, saying that he was proud of me and he could see how God was using me in my weakness to serve others.

Today, I did a glow stick demonstration with my youth at the end of a discussion about why bad things happen. Afterwards, I was wearing my sample glow stick around my neck, and a question from one of the kids showed me another dimension to the metaphor: "Can you turn it off?" asked Kristopher. "No. No, you can't." I smiled. Sure, it's an imperfect comparison, because glow sticks do fade...but then again, maybe that's about right. We often need to be reminded of our need of God. Maybe we don't have to be broken drastically over and over again, but faith is not a one-time thing where you get it or you don't--it's a process. Some of us might need to go through Wal-Mart's entire stock of glow sticks before we get it.

3 comments:

Joe Jones said...

I feel like I'm one of those people that will make it through the entire Walmart supply. I do really enjoy the metaphor though. "Let your Soul Glow" :)
-joe

zartenox said...

Nice posts! And your name is cool! ;)
Glowstick

Garetlonex said...

Stolen idea is stolen, but nice! Glowsticks and love? LOL! - Glowstick

 

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