“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”—Psalm139:13-14(ESV).
Have you ever watched toddlers discover their shadow for the first time? A video posted on Facebook captured my attention recently and I laughed, along with the adults who were trying to allay the fears of the youngsters frightened by the shadow of their own bodies. Some children cried. A few played with their shadow while most ran away screaming, trying to escape what they perceived as a threat to their secure world.
As I watched the video, I recalled a song called “Me and My Shadow,” written in 1927 by Ted Lewis. As the song's title suggests, it is a light-hearted take on loneliness and disappointment and artists throughout the decades since have parodied the song.
Parts of the original lyrics are included below:
Me and my shadow
Strolling down the avenue
Me and my shadow
Not a soul to tell our troubles to
Just me and my shadow
All alone and feelin’ blue.
A 2006 “Christianity Today” article cited a study from the “American Sociological Review” as disturbing. “Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades” noted a “remarkable drop in the size of people's core network of confidants—those with whom they could talk about important matters.”
While many people have an abundance of friends, others feel isolated. Some choose a self-imposed isolation while others withdraw for fear of not fitting in a social situation and/or facing rejection. We can even be in a room filled with people and feel lonely. How is that possible?
Mother Teresa once said, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” Before I discovered the unconditional love of my Savior, I was one of those. Oh, I had friends but I never felt as if I fit in. I know others who feel or have felt that way at times in their lives. I’ve come to realize it’s because we only live as a shadow of our real selves until we accept God’s grace.
Too many of us spend our lives trying to run away from the past. It doesn’t work. You can’t escape your past anymore than you can run away from your shadow. But you don’t have to live in the shadow of your past. German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “There is a strong shadow where there is much light.”
John 8:12 reads, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” With Jesus as our light, we don’t need to be afraid of the dark, the shadows of loneliness or rejection.
In Psalm 36:7, the writer says, “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” We can’t fathom God’s love for us. It’s immeasurable and unconditional. It’s who He is.
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