Tempted to despair, we threaten to tip headlong into the abyss of our own darkness. One can recognize this feeling if one looks into a darkened empty room, as if a mirror, and finds kinship there. We identify because of our failures, our lack. We see the dark and shamefully think we know it to be us. Introspection brings with it a certain level of danger in this. We are often encouraged to examine ourselves by popular psychology and after all, Socrates himself told us that an unexamined life is not worth living. While this is true, oftentimes we self-examine to the exclusion of all else. In doing so alone we raise the possibility of self-deception.
Am I an expert? Am I a doctor or psychologist? What, at all, do I know about my fragile darkness within? I may recognize it or even think I know it, but do I have insight? Can I show myself a better way, or a healing path? Any lack of credentials should show me that isolated introspection will only lead to self-deception and despair. And even those with some measure of credentials, what of them? Too many doctors I have seen refuse their own medicine. Too many psychologists, I have seen draw the line when it comes to their own weakness and failings. My own ex-wife was a gifted counselor and psychologist having intuitive insight into other’s lives and mental health. Unfortunately, the buck stopped with her. When challenged, she reverted to that scared, darkened twelve year old girl who had just lost her daddy and desperately needed to grow up.
So what do we do? When Satan tempts us to despair, and throws our own darkness in our face? We needs must turn to him and say, “What of it?” Yes, we are dark, and yes we fail, and even deserve the fallout that might come from that failing. But by God’s grace we don’t need to stop there. Despite our own darkness, despair and weakness we are given a hope and a future. We are given an inheritance and plan. Don’t spend your whole life looking inward, despairing at what you find. Rather, look outward at Him, and what He has promised us. Hope.