Shadows

ShadowA man once told me, “What you do when you’re alone defines who you are.”

He continued on to say, with that said, you want to do good when you’re alone, then, don’t you? So you should work hard and try to always do the right thing, because if you do the right things, God loves it.

Of course, God does love it when we do good (because he knows it’s much better for us), but he knows the truth. The truth, in my mind, is that we cannot do that. We cannot be a vine of poison ivy, and grow plump, juicy plums. Mmm… plums.

We can’t do good without being loved by God. Another man told me that the desire to do good is not from the flesh, but that it’s from God.

The cool thing is, there’s a neat (I mean, really neat) opportunity given to us by the creator of the entire universe, an opportunity to  be saved from the person in the dark. Our shadow. In the bible it talks about our bodies being flesh (as opposed to spirit), and how we’re broken, and that because of that we want those things that will only hurt us. It’s who we are. Not who we were intended to be, but who we are, nonetheless.

I would say I always found truth in the the statement “What you do when you’re alone defines who you are.” Today, for the first time, I was able to see it differently.

Originally, I said, “Of course, that makes sense. We are who we are when no one’s watching. It’s easier to be good when other people are wrong. So we should strive to be better without the extra help.” As a competitive person, I took it as a challenge. But, I’ve been coming to the realization (through reading books provided by my dad) that I cannot accomplish that goal, without God. At the point that you accept God’s love and grace, I don’t think it’s a goal anymore, anyway.

Today, though, I thought that it makes total sense that way. (It’s interesting how confident I am in my changed perspective.) I mean that we’re prone (pre-love/grace) to be that person in the dark who does bad things in the dark, because we don’t want the good things, we’re broken. Deep down it’s the good things that we’re looking for, but we find the bad things first, and more easily.

It’s the eternal struggle: we’re trying to be who we were created to be, but we’re fighting with what we are. We will always be fighting the person we don’t want to be, our dark side, our shadow. Our flesh is exactly like our shadow. It’s a dark form, shaped like us, that will always be with us, and surrounds us in the dark. It’s a sad reality, but that’s what sin creates: sad realities.

My point, I would suppose, is that we will always want what is bad, but that through God’s grace, we have a chance to… I was going to say overshadow, you know, to be clever, but I think that’s wrong. God’s grace is an amazing chance to beat the system. To be able to fight off the inner desires, that harm us. The desires even we don’t want, deep in our souls. That’s the part of us that’s created in God’s image.

My other point, is that the fruit can’t come before the the plant is planted. We cannot change, and stand zero chance against our flesh, our shadow, if we don’t accept Jesus. I don’t mean that you can’t be a good person without Jesus, rather, I mean this: without Jesus, we tend to screw things up.

I can only speak for myself, but, that’s my two cents.