I’ll never forget the first time I visited Harrods. It was a mesmerising, almost magical experience. I’d been on a week long school trip to London and the contrast between the gloom of trouble torn Belfast and the glitz of Harrods was profound. The thing I remember most was it’s sparkle. It was all so fantastically pristine. The attention to detail was meticulous and you could tell. Everything had a glistening ray of excellence about it. Even the floors seemed to glow with a brilliant radiance. The experience was unforgettable.

Recently however, I visited Harrods again and I found myself feeling a little disappointed (though I still love Harrods!). Don’t get me wrong….compared to your average department store it’s still in a league of it’s own. But in comparison to my first experience there, it wasn’t quite the same. The attention to detail was not nearly as impressive as I first remembered it. For example, I noticed some of the the floors were marked with masking tape which covered over rips in sections of carpet. A touch of mediocrity had crept in and I could tell the sparkle had faded a bit.

Truth is…when tiredness creeps into our lives, our sparkle can gradually wane. Creativity suffers. Surviving rather than thriving becomes the goal. What then follows is a downward trend. A sparkle turns to a shimmer, dims to a flicker and eventually fades to nothing.

So what do you do when your sparkle fades? Can you get it back? If so, how? Here’s some thoughts:

1) Face up
Recognise when the sparkle is fading. This requires self awareness. An unwillingness to do this probably explains why the sparkle ever faded at all in the first place. Facing up to the situation with integrity and openness is crucial, difficult though it might be. Don’t be blinded by the dullness of your insecurities. Have the confidence to be honest with yourself.

2) Clear up
The mistake we can often make is to just keep on going in the hope that no-one will notice our lack of sparkle. Whilst the answer is not to quit, it is important to take time to clear up those things which dim our light, things which don’t need to be there. This kind of decluttering can require great courage.

3) Rest up
Stop trying so hard. Take your time. Resist the temptation to panic and rush. Live for the long term rather than going for short term fixes. That means creating rhythms of rest in your life where you can be refreshed and renewed. This will not merely keep you alive but will cause you to thrive.

4) Rise up
Get around people who are doing better than you. Spend time with those who are further on than you. Don’t be mastered by your insecurities that feel threatened and exposed by others who are sparkling brighter. It’s always a trap to measure yourself against that which is mediocre. The latter is where your insecurity would like you to go. It’s no good though. No, get inspired and rise to the shine of excellence.

5) Brighten up
Give loving care and meticulous attention to the few things you do best. It’s not your job to do everything. It is your job to do what you do best. So do it with love. And remember, perfect love casts out fear. It’s your time to shine.

Finally, and above all, think about the words of Jesus:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly”
(Matt 11:28-30 MSG)