The natural response to the dark moments and dark thoughts in our lives is to shut them up and keep them hidden. We hope that we can stamp out the darkness by suffocating it, letting the walls close in around it, allowing it to slowly die of starvation, but the problem is that we can't isolate the darkness within us, much like radiation trying to kill cancer cells. When we try to kill the darkness this way, the rest of the soul suffers too. We can't drink poison and expect only the dark parts of us to die.
The only way to conquer darkness is to open it up to the light.
For a recovering perfectionist like me, this is hard. I have spent the majority of my life covering up the dark parts of me and molding the good and beautiful parts of me to be put on stage (both literally and metaphorically). I have spent many, many years performing. So many, in fact, that I almost have myself convinced I have it all pretty well together. I've got the bad (one could also substitute "weak" here) parts of me boxed up so no one will ever see, and I've got the good parts ready to go and be shown off. The only problem is that that's exhausting. So there are days when I just can't keep it up anymore. Then toss in a man that I'm preparing to spend the rest of my life with? Well, goodbye hiding! Nobody's got the strength to keep that one up 24/7. And honestly, that's one of the best parts of the adventure on which my man and I are embarking. Truly, it's one of the best parts of any committed community, not just marriage.
Because when it comes to our darkness there are two different kinds of light. There's the harsh light of interrogation, the one where we feel accused and afraid and worthless. Then there is the much gentler light of the sun. Yeah, that one makes me squint and shield my eyes, but it is also warm and helps me to grow. The difference between the two is the presence of Love. I know that my man loves me. I know he will not run away, no matter how much I may push him (and believe me, I do push him!). So I know that when I inevitably drop the ball and can't hide or hold it together anymore, I am safe to open up to the light. And even better is when I can finally just put it down altogether and say, "I'm not perfect. I have dark and sinful parts of me. Sometimes I hurt others and myself with the choices that I make. But I don't have to shut it down and hope that it won't rise up again. I can open it to the light and receive grace and forgiveness so I can start walking toward redemption and sanctification." And the truth is, at that point, I'm not actually just opening up to my man... I'm opening up to the Holy Spirit. I'm exposing the broken parts of me so Jesus can step in and move.
It's a hard habit to break, this convincing myself that I'm not broken, but opening up is the only way to intimacy with Christ. And I really want that. I really want to be open to that loving kind of light that can bring redemption and healing.