Turning the Corner from the Half-Empty Glass

I have realized that my focus on becoming a better man has been all about admitting the truth about the man I had been:

  • Callous
  • Self-absorbed
  • Addictive Personality
  • Narcissistic
  • A Liar

And while I check in with good men on a regular basis — often times I find myself seeing the Shadow more than the Gold — in both myself and in the other men.

Remember the Shadow is that dark side of our personality that is repressed, hidden and pushed down — afraid to be revealed.

The apostle, Paul, bemoaned his own Shadow and the struggle in Romans 7:15-25:

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 

What is going on here?

I own my Shadow to be sure.  Robert Johnson reminds us “to own one’s shadow is whole making.”

It sure doesn’t feel whole making.  It feels crappy.

It’s crappy because there needs to be a turn.

Those rejected pieces of my personality mentioned above — need to be turned with attention and restoration.  They need it because they are still alive and can never die.

There is Gold in the Shadow itself.  That Gold needs to be mined, as much as the Shadow needs to be revealed and restored.

Paul continues:

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The turn is in surrendering to Christ, who desires me to be restored to what God originally intended me to be:

  • Loving
  • Safe
  • Secure
  • Whole
  • Truthful

I now have to turn the corner and catch up on whom I really am.

Robert Johnson states, “Assimilating one’s shadow is the art of catching up on those facets of life that have not been lived out adequately.”

There are only a few ways I know of to assimilate my shadow — both Dark and Gold sides:

  1. Spending time in both Scripture and books by fellow travelers who have gone before me.
  2. Journaling and asking for other’s feedback in my life as a consistent discipline.
  3. Re-Living. I have to recreate (with help) those experiences of life I didn’t live out adequately.

I know of no better place to do that, then in The Crucible Project.

What do you need to do in order to make the turn?

By Tim White

Tim completed his initial weekend in 2013. He has staffed many weekends and leads L.I.F.E. Recovery for men at Willow Creek Crystal Lake. With an M.Div from Bethel Seminary, he’s a former senior pastor and now pastoral coach. Tim fulfills his mission by guiding men to greater connection through vulnerable transparency. TimWhiteCoaching.com