Am I Living In My Shadow or His?

By Kathi Pelton

When you stand in the direct sun on a clear day it will cast your shadow onto the ground with vivid and vast definition. Why? Because you are blocking the sun that is shining directly upon you. Yet, on a cloudy or stormy day, you rarely see your own shadow as there is no sun for you to block.

Sometimes in a “stormy season” of life I find that I actually see the shadow of His wing covering me more than on the clear days that are absent of storms. When I am in full dependency because circumstances are beyond my control I become so aware that I am being kept and covered by my Heavenly Father’s love and protection. Yet, occasionally on clear days (days absent of great need) I will find myself beginning to walk in “my own shadow” and begin to venture outside the shadow of abiding in Him.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalms‬ ‭91:1‬ ‭

There is something that is within human nature (or sin nature) that is prone to wander, to go our own way, to be independent, to give into the desires of the flesh. Yes, even within Christians! Though we learn through experience and spiritual maturity not to give into these temptations; still they call to us and there are still times that we give in.

For me, those times come most often when my life is “carefree” and the sun is shining— when all my skies are clear. I think that it’s just that when we don’t “feel” the urgent need for dependency or divine intervention we can begin to dwell in our own shadow. I don’t actually believe that I can ever truly leave the shadow of His wing, because I am His daughter, but my focus can leave the place of abiding and I can begin to focus on my own shadow (which is just “me”).

I remember a season in my life many years ago that was months of “clear skies!” Spiritual and circumstantial summer had come. Our family was thriving, relationships were thriving, finances were thriving, our ministry was thriving, business was thriving, and even my physical being was thriving. What a glorious beginning to that summer season it was! I woke up rejoicing and went to bed rejoicing. But as that season moved from days to months I began to unconsciously abide in and “glory in” the freedom from storms more than in the rest of the Almighty. I found myself beginning to follow my own shadow rather than abiding in His. It all looked spiritual and good but I had begun to venture out of abiding in His shadow and into enjoying the shade of my own shadow because the sun was shining so brightly in my life. Toward the end of that season (which was to be a gift from God) I found myself feeling disoriented, disconnected from God, careless in my decisions and utterly aware of the faults within the lines of my shadow. My security and rest had shifted from Him to striving to seize the days of “more than enough” (as I knew that like every season, this one would be limited in its duration).

That time in my life was a wonderful lesson on how to remember to remain (abide) and rest in His shelter rather than find my security in the “lack of storms.” I think that there is such an emphasis on circumstantial “breakthrough” in the lives of believers that we forget that He is our breakthrough! He is our dwelling place, our hope, our warmth, our light, our portion, our refuge, our abiding place and our rest. This must be established in every season.

People often focus on achieving breakthrough from adverse circumstances, but we don’t prepare to live in it when it arrives. The poverty spirit can live in prosperity as much as it can in scarcity, but it manifests as greed and independence. We know how to live in need but do we know how to live in abundance? Wealth and riches can be a far greater burden than poverty because a greater responsibility and accountability is required. I believe that God wants to entrust His people with abundance but we must be prepared to remain in Him (fully dependent, sober, humble, at rest and prayerful) or our breakthrough can become our breaking. It’s so easy to find comfort in the fullness of our flesh and soul but our spirits will always long to be satisfied with Christ alone. We must remain living out of our spirits and to train our flesh and soul to find fulfillment in God.

Let us be a people who can live abundantly in every circumstance because we live in the never-changing fullness of our Savior. We live in the constant breakthrough of His love, His grace, and His victory. We live in the shadow of His wing which gives us rest.

He is breaking us out of the mindsets of “feast or famine,” because it is there that we splurge or starve rather than abide and thrive in the constant abundance of a never changing God whose promises are true and kept in every season and every circumstance.

One last thought; when the sun is in front of me, my shadow is behind me but when the sun is behind me my shadow goes before me. Let us keep the Son in front of us and not behind us!

In every season, sunshine or storm, let us say,

“I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”” Psalms‬ ‭91:2‬

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