03. Polar Bears Aren't White



This is true. Polar bears aren't white. I feel fairly confident that most of you will already know, but for those who like to travel through life more slowly, taking in the view, I'm delighted to be the one to tell you that, not only are they not white, they're actually glowing. Yes—glowing!


You see, polar bears have black skin and the hairs making up their fur are hollow and transparent. When the sun's rays hit the transparent hairs, some of the sun's light energy travels into the hair and gets trapped, and as this energy bounces around inside the hair, a marvellous reaction known as luminescence (an emission of light) occurs. At a microscopic level, the hair of the polar bear is filled with tiny bumps that act as light-scattering particles. As the light bounces around inside the hair, it collides with these tiny bumps which breaks the light into more beams which, in turn, creates more luminescence. As you'd expect, polar bears pick up bits of salt from swimming or being near the salty ocean water and, just to add to the luminescence, these salt particles become like glitter by sticking to the bears' fur, acting as light-scattering particles on the outside.


So you see, polar bears are simply gigantic Arctic glitter balls.


Now that you have that information (and probably the image of a glittery polar bear suspended from the ceiling), you may be sitting there all smug saying, 'Of course. It's obvious. I knew that.' Maybe you did. Maybe you didn't. But that's not the point. The point is that polar bears, like so many other things in life, aren't what they seem. They appear white to our eye, but they're not truly white at all. They're also very lovely to look at, both fierce and fragile, and they need our help if the species is to survive. Their whiteness helps them remain hidden, often times looking more like a snowdrift than an animal. They absorb the white light around them in order to blend in, to be less obvious and less visible. As much as possible, they don't want to be seen.


Are you a polar bear? I don't mean a literal polar bear, of course. (That's a terrifying thought right there!) No, I mean are you that person who pretends to be something they're not in order to try and fit in, in order to be less visible? Perhaps you've been told you're too much. Perhaps you've been told you're weird or odd. Maybe you've felt so uncomfortable in your world that you just want to hide away. Or maybe you've been bullied because you have talents and gifts that make you stand out... and some people around you just can't stand it. Think of all the energies people waste trying to be normal, not even realising that normal doesn't exist (we're all different and unique) and, even if it did, normal is definitely boring. After all, why be normal when you can be extraordinary!


I get that sometimes we don't want to be seen, we want to go completely unnoticed, not drawing attention to ourselves. (Which reminds me, if you don't want to be seen in a class or a meeting, don't sit at the back. Teachers know very well that people who sit at the back of the room are hiding, so will often pick on those poor 'polar bears' and draw attention to them. My trick? Aim somewhere for the middle. Hidden by the crowd.) But not letting our true colours show doesn't help anyone in the long run. To be clear, I'm not particularly talking about your physical appearance here—although many of us need to appreciate ourselves for our physical uniqueness—but rather I'm talking about letting your character shine, being who you were made to be, and embodying all that is good and kind and gracious. Every day you have the choice to focus on being amazing, to go beyond the average or the typical. You have the choice to be EXCEPTIONAL. Why follow the crowd when you can be leading it? Why shoot for ordinary when you can be SPECTACULAR?! My advice: don’t lower your standards to fit in with the crowd. Instead, let your example be what lifts others around you to raise their standards to yours. Be a leader. In the words of the now controversial Dr. Seuss, 'Why fit in when you were born to stand out?' I reckon Dr. Seuss had learned a thing or two from the Father, don't you? Remember what Jesus said?


'Your lives light up the world. For how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.' — Matthew 5:14-16 (TPT)

Look at that. 'Your lives light up the world.' You were born for more. YOU were born to make a difference, to stand up and stand out. Not so that people look at you and go, 'Ooooh! Would you look at her/him?! She's/He's so amazing! The big show-off!' No. It's so that people will see what you're doing and see God in you. Internal luminescence seen outwardly. Everything you do should be a reflection of heaven, giving praise to the Father who made you so wonderfully and intricately. That kind of heavenly luminescence is pervasive.


Don't hide who you are. Put on your sassy pants and let your light shine, let it make a difference in your world. And let God receive the applause.