Light the Good Candle: Stop Waiting for Your Life to Start

If you’ve been around for awhile you’ll know that one of my accidental tag lines is “light the good candle.” I say this to my friends, I say this to myself, and I’ll say this as many more times as it takes for us to remember. 

It started because I found myself not lighting my fancy Anthropologie candles because I didn’t want to use them up. I’d paid good money for them – too much money thanks to Anthro’s incredible branding – and it seemed silly to waste them while I worked late on a random Tuesday evening or did dishes on a Sunday afternoon. 

And I realized I did this with a lot of things. I used my favorite body butter sparingly so I wouldn’t run out. Avoided wearing my favorite shirt in case a social event came up that it’d be better used for than work. Or worse, waited to do things I wanted to do until I had the right person to do them with. Be it the right friends or the right spouse or the right roommate. 

I still do this at times. There’s a women’s writing salon here in NYC called Novella that I’ve wanted to go to for a year now. And I keep telling myself I’ll go when I find a writer friend in the city. Which may or may not ever happen so really I’m waiting in vain. (I put this on my 30 Before 30 list to force myself to go. Still haven’t done it but I’ll keep you posted.) 

So “light the good candle” is an easy way to say “stop waiting”.

It’s not about indulging or being irresponsible. I’m not telling you to go spend all your money or drink all your nice bottles of wine (although if you do, pls call me). This isn’t an “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” kind of motto. 

It’s about celebrating the season you’re in and the day you’ve been given. 

We spend so much time waiting. Waiting to be married, waiting to have children, waiting to retire, waiting until this problem is solved or that number is in our bank account or we finally become the person we know we’re meant to be – the person who budgets and exercises regularly and found her passion project and pushed past her fears. (I have a few posts about this last point. The idol of our future selves is a sneaky one. And is oh so dangerous.)

We wait because we think the next season will be better in ways A and B. We wait because we’re convinced that our current struggles and surroundings aren’t right and that surely they’ll change soon. We wait without even knowing we’re waiting – telling ourselves we’re content with today and yet subconsciously putting all our hope in tomorrow. 

It’s why we wait to use the good plates until we have someone to cook dinner for. It’s why we wait to light the good candle until we’re working on that passion project we found or we’ve got someone to impress. 

But what a shame it is to live that way. To wait for our bloated idea of tomorrow and miss all the mercy we’ve been given today. To miss the gift of freedom and independence in want of marriage. Or to miss the gift of refining union in want of singleness. To miss the gift of forced togetherness in want of a bigger home. To miss the hard and holy gift of sanctification and strength in want of an easier life.

Am I oversimplifying this? I don’t know, maybe. Or are we overcomplicating what it means to live the abundant life? Are we missing the point entirely because comparison has convinced us that our version of grace isn’t enough?

Excuse the cliches for a moment, but today is all you have. Tomorrow is not promised. And it will care for itself (Matt. 6:34). Today is a brand new, perfectly designed, never-to-be-had-again, sovereignly held and written day in which to experience the goodness of God’s gifts and graces. 

But that’s a mouthful and won’t fit on a coffee mug (*teaser*), so instead I say, light the good candle.

Use the good plates. Drink the good wine. Ask the waiter to take your picture. Have the second cup of coffee. And use the time that it brews to take inventory of all the glimpses of grace around you. 

Celebrate this season – for all its joys or jagged edges – as the one God wrote for you to better experience Him. Tomorrow will come. It will look differently than we imagine and will have its own flavor of happy and heartache. But today is yours to take. And to enjoy. And to savor. And to worship within. 

Need some inspo or a place to start? This happens to be my area of expertise:

This Sugar Birch Hearth and Hand candle by Magnolia is as wonderful and homey as everything else Joanna Gaines does. I own two of these because I want it in our bedroom and our living room – I love it that much.

This CapriBlue Volcano candle is tied with Hearth and Hand as my favorite right now. It was originally a gift from my sweet mother in law, and has now become an obsession. The scent is light and airy, yet not overpowering and makes our apartment feel like fancy hotel.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I had to include this Silver Dollar candle that would be make a great gift for a mom out there that needs to “light the good candle” too. It’s clean burning, natural soy, and you can pick the scent.

Wood wick candles just add a little something special, don’t they? That crackling noise is such a homey sound. This Wax & Wood driftwood candle sounds and smells like a weekend at the lake and burns up to 60 hours.

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