In Search of Natural Light

Where do you get renewed?

Lauren Stewart

Soft rays of morning light streamed through the tent screen as I lay bundled and warm inside my sleeping bag. It was quiet in Kaibab National Forest, the kind of quiet that makes you wonder if your ears went kaput. I didn’t want to move; even the smallest rustling would ruin the moment. There have been few occasions I’ve savored like this.

Road-tripping from Las Vegas to Denver brought some of the greatest contentment I’ve ever experienced. There’s nothing like standing at the edge of a canyon watching the late-afternoon sun warm the brilliance of the sky before disappearing over a rocky ridge. The magnificence of creation continually humbled me. I was compelled to praise my Creator.

Only a few weeks earlier, harsh florescent lights had beamed down on my pale skin. On the other side of the partition, a woman yelled into her cell phone.

The six hours I spent looking for “work-appropriate attire” tested my patience beyond limit. As I stood there, staring at my reflection in the mirror, it was no longer about the clothing. The green-tinted lights began to illuminate portions of my body that I chose to stop scrutinizing years ago. The self-image sickness once again crept into my head and seemed to stretch my skin, puffing it out until the image I saw was no longer a true reflection.

The green-tinted light is often what I choose to live in, but I believe God desires for us to live in the gentle light streaming through the tent screen. This temporary world of the fitting room has been fabricated in an effort to bring comfort, but the artificial light doesn’t flatter us. It casts light on the untrue and the unlovely.

How do we get back to the authentic light, the light that illuminates what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8, New International Version)? For some, it may be praying or meditating on scripture. For me, it’s finding rest and peace in nature. There’s nothing better I can do to connect to God. In a world full of noise and distraction, it’s important for me to take time to remove myself from what draw me to the merciless light, to make the conscious decision to dwell in the light that doesn’t glorify myself, but Christ.

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