Growing in the shadows.


A brief spattering of thoughts on life in the shadows...

Some parts of life are bright and colorful. It seems like glitter covers everything and the ideas and momentum flow continuously. Life is good. Life is Instagram worthy.

Growing when you are in the light is easy. It feels natural. Relationships are lined out right and expansion is at your fingertips. Your audience is eager to hear from you. The business you work for is incredibly profitable. Growth is happening and LIFE IS BRIGHT.

And then...there comes a creeping shadow. 

Maybe it hits suddenly like my stroke or it slowly crawls over the light at such a slow pace you barely notice it at first. The warm sunshine isn't on your skin anymore. The bumps in the road turn into looming mountains. And the worst part of the shadows?  You feel hidden.

Tucked away and out of the spotlight. Another business passes yours up. You sit through yet another friend's wedding without anyone beside you to share the moment with. All the ideas which seemed so flawless in the light now look damaged in the shadows. 

We long for the brightness and all the exciting things that come with it. Our dreams manifested in the light and now they are shrinking in the shadows. It feels like the darkness is killing everything we have worked so hard to build. 

And you know what? I get it. I feel these feelings even now when I am typing this. I want the sunshine back. I want the days when I could walk without pain. I want to use my right arm and be able to control it well. I want to think clearly and not deal with the inability to access parts of my brain. I want the life I had before my stroke and all the subsequent health issues. 

If God promises that He will be good always and if His plans for us are to prosper us...why are we sitting here in the shadows??? Perhaps it is because we haven't learned to see the beauty of the dim moments. 

I have a slight plant obsession and snagged this one because I was mesmerized by the leaves. It immediately got put in a pot and in the process I read about where this vibrant plant thrives. Not in the bright light of the patio. Not in the front yard among the other flowering beauties. 

It grows in low light. Dark corners and dim settings create the perfect setting for these leaves to show their splendor. Not everything grows in the "perfect" light. Some things can only grow in the shadows.

Perhaps the frustration I feel so often is because I fail to acknowledge that there are things in me that can only mature in the shadows. Aspects of my faith have had to go deeper than ever before to anchor me through this storm. A level of vulnerability has been required in my relationships because this is too much to carry alone. And joy? Well it is so much brighter when born in the dark.

Going through hard things is never what we would choose for ourselves. Perhaps we are the same. Sitting in dim corners waiting for our day in the sun. I can't promise you that your season will be short. I can't promise it won't leave you without scars. 

This is what I do know. Some truth for all of us shade dwellers. 

God will be faithful to us. He has not forgotten us. He does not love the sun bathers more than He loves us. They are not more valuable or better. We are just cultivating new things in unknown places. And perhaps when we get back into the sunshine, there will be a longing in us for the shade because we saw how magical it can be with beautiful things grow in the shadows.

Liz Griffin