By Joel Comiskey, check out Joel’s latest book, Living in Victory
Sometimes moving forward requires stepping backwards. Pressing pause before play is essential for our spiritual, emotional, and mental health. If we continue to run ahead without paying attention to those dark areas of our lives, those unresolved issues will come back to haunt us.
I think of the two recent examples of Bill Hybels and Ravi Zacharias, two great leaders who failed to deal with key areas of sin. Others had to point out their dark sides, and sadly, we as a church are now grieving for them and their families.
We as believers live under God’s grace. We are justified by his grace and sanctified (made holy) by his grace. God’s grace also wants to change those dark, difficult areas of our lives. Some leaders never pause but keep moving forward without dealing with the dark side. When this happens, God often has to expose them in public. Far better to take the initiative and allow the Spirit to work deeply here and now.
In my own life, Covid-19 has been a wonderful time to pause, reflect, and deal with issues. Since 2001, I’ve averaged speaking at approximately twenty seminars per year, along with fulltime coaching, JCG ministry, and an intense writing schedule. Covid-19 has created a special opportunity to stop, go deeper with him spiritually, and to refocus on family/marriage issues.
God has especially been showing me that he wants to free me from the need to control people, circumstances, and my own life. He’s also been causing me to repent of the need to maintain a “successful” image, along with understanding the meaning of “true success.” He’s been asking me to acknowledge my dark areas, repent of them, and then to ask for his grace to change me. I’m realizing afresh that my significance and security is in Christ alone.
I’ve also been asking those who I coach to take a deeper look at their dark sides. I’ve been recommending the book Overcoming the Darkside of Leadership. This classic book reminds us that each of us has a dark side and that it’s far better to know what is happening within in order to ask Jesus for grace to overcome it.
I’ve also been recommending chapter 2 “Face Your Shadow” in Peter Scazzero’s book The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Scazerro writes, “The degree to which you recognize and engage your own shadow is the degree to which you can free others to face theirs. I don’t look for people’s shadows, but they are increasingly obvious to me. How is that possible? Because I know mine!” (pp. 63-64).
Covid-19 has allowed all of us to pause and reflect, but we need to go one step further and identify those dark areas which God wants to change in our lives. As we acknowledge them, and ask the Holy Spirit to change us, we will be set free and Christ will be honored.
What are those areas that you constantly ask God to change in your life? Jesus is willing and desirous of doing a deeper work in your own life that will overflow in victory to those around you.