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Tag Archives: Hidden

Face Your Shadow

Everyone has a shadow. Shadows are those untamed emotions and behaviors. They may be sinful; they may simply be weaknesses. Most importantly, they lie concealed just beneath the surface of our more proper selves. They may erupt in judgmental perfectionism, outbursts of anger, jealousy, resentments, lusts, greed, or murderous tendencies. At other times, they emerge through our need to rescue people, our seemingly endless need to be noticed, our inability to stop working, our isolation, or our rigidity. Our shadows are the damaged versions of who we are. They are the behaviors we use to protect ourselves from actually changing. We keep them hidden because they make us feel so vulnerable. Churches and organizations can develop a “shadow mission.” We want to reach people for Jesus Christ. That is good. The shadow of that is: “We are here to grow our numbers.” Many of us have wonderful public gifts in speaking and mobilizing people.. Read more.

Face Your Shadow

Everyone has a shadow. Shadows are those untamed emotions and behaviors. They may be sinful; they may simply be weaknesses. Most importantly, they lie concealed just beneath the surface of our more proper selves. They may erupt in judgmental perfectionism, outbursts of anger, jealousy, resentments, lusts, greed, or murderous tendencies. At other times, they emerge through our need to rescue people, our seemingly endless need to be noticed, our inability to stop working, our isolation, or our rigidity. Our shadows are the damaged versions of who we are. They are the behaviors we use to protect ourselves from actually changing. We keep them hidden because they make us feel so vulnerable. Churches and organizations can develop a “shadow mission.” We want to reach people for Jesus Christ. That is good. The shadow of that is: “We are here to grow our numbers.” Many of us have wonderful public gifts in speaking and mobilizing people.. Read more.

Hurricane Sandy — A Pause

Each day brings new stories and images of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. An old friend had his house completely washed away in the storm. He had built it himself. The following is from his e-mail to me two days ago: “I’m having trouble accepting this all as the will of God…The realization that everything a man has worked for in his whole life has been washed away in just one 2-3 hour period. I don’t know, but I wish I did.” Sandy is an invitation to pause and ponder. The following are a few thoughts out of my journal from this past week: 1. God is Greater and More Powerful than I Realize. He remains “seated on his throne, high and exalted” (Isaiah 6:1). The force and size of a hurricane is humbling. 2. You and I Are Not in Control of Our Lives or Destiny. Take another long look at the roller coaster. Read more.

The Hidden, Invisible Presence of Jesus

Yesterday, at our NLF staff Christmas party, I led a devotional around Bruegel the Elder’s Census at Bethlehem painting from the 16th century. Using Juliet Benner’s guide in Contemplative Vision: A Guide to Christian Art and Prayer, I shared out of the overflow of how God met me in this portrayal of Luke 2:4-5. As Mary and Joseph approach the village to register for the census (See her on a donkey on the center right), we see a crowd of people seeking to get into the inn. We also observe many others carrying heavy loads burdened by the harshness of their lives. Each is so engrossed and absorbed in their own affairs and activities that Mary, Joseph and Jesus are invisible to them. Would I have turned to Mary or Joseph and asked about their story if I were there? Probably not. I suspect I would have been too busy. God is so close. Read more.