Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Overcoming Your Dark Side

Dark side. You have it. Everyone has it. Like the shadow sides of the moon -- disguised, unexplored, or unrecognized. Either you come out stronger or collapse as a result of it. You need to protect yourself.

Even David, a man after God's own heart, fell victim to it. The story is familiar. The divinely ordained leader of God's own people is caught in the clutches of adultery and murder. Interestingly, David's dark side endured for more than a year of denial. Self-deception. Until he was finally cornered and convicted by God's prophet. The good news is that David acknowledged his sin and dark side and took steps to overcome it.

You need to be attentive to the shadowy working of your dark side. It doesn't leave you. It's always there as long as you breathe. Any behavior, urge, or motivation that overpowers you is a possible sign indicating the presence of your dark side. With increased knowledge of it will come increased power to overcome it.

Overcoming your dark side requires the practice of spiritual disciplines. These extend opportunity for the Lord to work in your heart and life. Without a steady diet of these disciplines, the destructive effects of your dark side become stronger and more imminent. Here are some questions that could be helpful to check yourself:

Do I practice a regular time of Scripture reading and devotion beyond preparation for teaching or leading small groups?

Do I have regular time for prayer (talking heart to heart with God) outside of meals, church services, or formal ministry settings?

Do I take time weekly or monthly for meditation and reflection on Scripture, God, and my life?

Do I keep a journal (or weblog) in which I enter my deepest thoughts, passions, failures, victories, and dreams?

Do I take an extended time for spiritual reflection, such as retreat once or twice a year?

How easy it is to forget what kind of a person you really are when you neglect the "mirror" of spiritual disciplines. Consistent exposure to spiritual disciplines will provide you with the strongest arsenal to overcome your dark side rather than being controlled by it. With it, you also see things as they can be, not simply as they are.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Hale said...

Very nicely done. An excellent reminder to spend time on the spiritual things more than any other--you are made stronger when you are clear on what you are up against. This is good. Thank you.