I recently watched the film Coach Carter. I remember having caught the movie years ago, but so much time had passed that the memory of it had faded. I am glad I spent the time to enjoy it once again.
The plot focuses on Ken Carter, a hardware store owner, who takes the helm coaching an inner city basketball team that he leads to an undefeated season.
By all measures, this story inspires and provides a glimpse of what obstacles people face when battling trials on the road to success. I found, however, the most poignant moment of the film does not come from one of the team’s many wins, but comes when one of the students thanks Coach Carter for his dedication to the team. Even more so, the speech is in answer to the coach’s curiosity of what the student feared most.
After some research, I found the origin of the speech the student recited came from a book written by Marianne Williamson called A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles:
“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, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not 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 as 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.”
I have been thinking about how my presence could help liberate someone else’s fear. As I look to become stronger in God’s word, I am finding the things that once frightened me are no longer an issue. This is to say, much of what I have learned in the past few months has given me the freedom from the anxiety stemming from fear. If anything, I have allowed God’s spirit to flow through me and on to others who need it. In other words, lately I have functioned as nothing more than a conduit for helping others.
Now, believe me when I say this, it has never been my intention to live the life I am living now, renewed in the spirit and allowing my light to shine in an obvious way. Before this, I have chosen to stand by the sidelines while permitting others to step in on my behalf. I will admit my liking to having had a low profile.
This is the reason Williamson’s quote has affected me so much. It reflects that which has taken shape in my heart, manifesting itself through deeds I did not know I could accomplish. And realizing I no longer fear because I no longer linger on the thought of suppressing my real self, makes me all the more thankful I am living the life God wants me to live—shining a light so that others may be liberated also.
Therefore, I ask. Would you care what anyone thought if you knew what your true potential was?