How to Walk in the Light
Think for just a moment about the things in your life you don’t want anyone else to know about. If we are honest with ourselves, these things haunt us at times, even if we have put our faith and trust in Christ. Jacob points us to the Light to be able to live in the Light.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as he Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:6-7
The thing that keeps us from talking about these secret mistakes, addictions, pleasures or experiences of darkness is shame.
Shame is really good at keeping us in a place of darkness. Why? Because “Shame forces us to put so much value on what other people think that we lose ourselves in the process of trying to meet everyone else’s expectations” (Brene Brown).
Let’s look at a couple of ways we can combat shame in order to shed light on the dark things in our lives and our children’s.
- Be vulnerable – I had a mentor once tell me, “It never makes things worse to be honest.” Shame gets its fuel from fear. Fear of rejection. If we’re honest, we care deeply about what others think of us and this often drives us to hide and cover our darkness as best as possible. Demonstrate for your kids and spouse what it looks like to be vulnerable with the darkness within you. God promises us fellowship/connection with others when we walk in the light. Check out this video on the power of vulnerability (it will be worth your 20 minutes, I promise).
- Speak identity – We all have a greatest need and a greatest fear…to be fully known and fully loved. Scripture tells us we were formerly darkness but are now Light in the Lord! This is a proclamation of our identity in Christ. Even though Scripture proclaims this confidently, it’s easy for shame to convince us that we are not valued and accepted. Part of our role as parents is to speak identity into our children. Find creative ways to tell your children they are loved and cared for. It could be as simple as saying it, writing them a note, or encouraging them when they fail.
- Listen compassionately – One of the best ways to shed light in dark places is to actively listen to your children. “Compassion is not a virtue – it is a commitment –it’s something we choose to practice” (Brene Brown). Compassion allows us to receive people for who they are, as they are. It provides space for people to talk through darkness in their life. Often times when people openly talk about their darkness, they are more receptive to the Light.
God calls us to walk in the Light. Let’s be people who walk in confidence of our Lord’s defeat of darkness and do so with a vulnerability providing space for others to talk about their struggles.
Read 1 John 1:6-7. What are some places in your life where you see darkness around you (school, team, friends)? Do you feel a pull towards darkness? If so, are there specific areas? What are some things in your life you’re ashamed of? Who could you share this with so you can start walking in the light?