This week’s podcast explores the first pillar of building a deep inner life out of which we lead for Jesus: face your shadow. This requires confronting those parts of who we are that we prefer to neglect, forget, or deny, and it is our most difficult leadership task. Parker Palmer expresses this process best:
Everything in us cries out against it. That is why we externalize everything — it is far easier to deal with the exterior world. It is easier to spend your life manipulating an institution than dealing with your own soul. We make institutions sound complicated and hard and rigorous, but they are simplicity itself compared with our inner labyrinths.
I build on the material found in The Emotionally Healthy Leader in this podcast, providing additional avenues to get at this largely unconscious, damaged but mostly hidden version of who we are. Why? As we begin facing our shadows, we discover it is a never-ending process, much like archeologists excavating a Middle Eastern “tell,” or archeological site, where one civilization is built on another in the same place. We go back, breaking one destructive power of the past. Then later, on a deeper level, God has us return to the same issue on a more profound level. In that process, we discover God is waiting for us there.
I share briefly about key themes such as developing an integrated self, core wounds buried in our family histories that trigger immature reactions from us in the present, and ways we can serve as a mature, healing presence for those we lead.
Let me encourage you to click here for our free discussion guide (along with video chapter introductions) on The Emotionally Healthy Leader so you can talk about these large themes with others.