One of my fondest childhood memories were the various parades we would go to. I can still taste the cotton candy, the smell of popcorn, and the pinwheels spinning in the breeze. Of course a good parade consists of two things: Those who are IN the parade, performing and showcasing various talents. And those who are on the sidelines watching, clapping and admiring those in the parade.

Life is similar to the parade scenario. There are those who are using, displaying, showcasing, and even profiting from the use of certain gifts and talents. And there are the countless others who are on the sidelines cheering, admiring, talking, coveting and are jealous of those who are IN the parade. I have decided that I cannot be one who is on the sidelines watching the parade as it passes me by. I would much rather be able to look back on my life and know that I was not content standing on the sidelines watching everyone else. But that I was an active participant giving the world my gifts, talents, and resources.

Of course we all have reasons why we did not take full advantage of certain opportunities; Things that we wish we would have accomplished, or at least attempted so we never have to surmise what would have happened if I would have done so and so. I can’t speak for you, but I can speak for myself. I have spent ample time watching the parade. Sometimes because of my own fears and issues, and at other times just simply watching instead of participating. When I didn’t step up, I would say to myself I could have done a better job. During my high school years, I had the gifts, talents, and charisma to my high school class president. Unfortunately I had a severe case of acne and it destroyed my self-image, self-esteem and my confidence. I missed out on a whole lot of opportunities because of that. Though my acne has cleared up and I am handsome as can be (J/K) I still am affected at times from the scars and residue of that experience. That is why even now when I see teens who may be having the same issues I did I really empathize with them because I know what it is like to walk in their shoes. But I am determined to Stop watching the parade. A great preacher of our time T.D. Jakes was published in time magazine saying that his goal in life is to breathe out every creative thought that God has placed in him before he dies. I like that.

I have always been an avid reader. Enjoying poems especially. Recently I watched a movie entitled “Akeelah and the Bee” and there was a portion of a poem by Marianne Williamson that was really inspirational to me and I want to leave it with you. And again STOP WATCHING THE PARADE!!! You have too much to offer and the world is waiting.

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? 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 your shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us. It is in everyone. And as we let our 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.