Make Big Shadows.

Go to the Limits of Your Longing

by Rainer Maria Rilke

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.


The last couple of weeks have been rough, self-esteem-wise, not gonna lie. It’s so hard, sometimes, to remember that God is not how I feel about myself, that He isn’t what other people say to or about me, that He isn’t my earthly family. When I get into these states, it’s hard to feel inspired. I start to live day to day, just keeping my head down and trying not to think. That’s how I’ve been living for a while now, not really looking at my goals, even when I wrote about them, and certainly not spending time with my Creator. Basically, my thoughts were, “Ew, my life is a big, fat zero heading down the highway to Nowhere In Particular, and I don’t even like being around myself right now, so why would God want to be around me?”

And then, while I was scrolling through my Tumblr last night desperately searching for some inspiration to share today, I ran across this poem, which I had entirely forgotten about. It reminded me that God is in my rooting section. He created me to have big desires, and to go out after them. And in so doing, I will represent Him, which is, after all, the main goal of my life.

My favorite lines in this poem are “Flare up like a flame / and make big shadows I can move in.” I tend to be a fraidy-cat who doesn’t want to make a move, because it might be the “wrong thing to do.” These lines remind me that God is saying, “Don’t be scared! Dream big! Go big! Live your life with passion like flames! I can move in whatever you do.”

Also, “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going.” That is so important for me, especially as a writer. I tend to guard myself so closely, because I don’t want to experience pain. But in so doing, I lock out the opportunities for beauty as well. Living openly, and welcoming everything that comes is what I want to strive for this year. I don’t know if I will make it, but as long as I keep trying, I’ll be further along than I am now.

And that will be a good thing.


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