I will freely admit that much of my life feels like I am in the shadows. Or better, that my life has become a shadow. It seems that very often light exists beyond the horizon. Other times, it seems to be just beyond my grasp; I can see it, enough to know the shadow, but I’m never in it.
I’ve used several words and phrases here that are quite loaded, and I’ve done so intentionally to convey the multiplicity of ways that I live into the lies I believe. I am constantly searching for some epiphanic moment where I will see truth clearly and know what it is. I keep hoping that I will see Jesus clearly and know that it is Jesus. But as the bible says, we see now through a mirror, and dimly at that. I wonder if we see through the shadows.
When the light draws near and I can see where the light stops and the shadow begins, I find myself trying to catch the fading light. But no matter how vigorously I chase the light I am always in the shadow. It is as if the faster I run the faster the shadow moves, keeping pace with me as if it were my own shadow.
Because it is.
I am the thing that blocks the light. The light I chase is prevented from being seen because I am facing the wrong direction, with my back to the light I am constantly in shadow. I cannot bear to turn and face the brightness of the light because I prefer this view. My eyes have grown accustomed to this darkness. This is what I want; this is my space. Yet I desire the light. But I want to light to engulf me without it obstructing my view. I want light without it eliminating my shadow.
But it doesn’t work that way.
Lies exist because they are believed. I am the sum total of what I believe, and if I believe something so rigorously that even in with the light shining directly on my back I refuse to turn and face it, because turning and facing it would mean the destruction of everything I believe myself to be.
That’s how grace works.
Grace destroys the self-constructed self. Grace reveals the inadequacy of my beliefs. Grace rebukes me for arguing my rightness. Grace shines on my shadow and lights up my life. But when it does, I lose my sense of righteousness. I lose all the things I imagine in the shadow. I become the creature and not the god.
In grace, I become human.