Sunday, October 7, 2012

Learning about "Shadow Mission"...what is your shadow mission?

I woke up this morning excited about going to Church (International Evangelical Church (IEC) in Addis ). But a few minutes before heading out, I decided to change my mind. Church was too far away. The desire to crawl into bed was overwhelming. After wrestling with the thoughts of staying in the comfort of my bed, I took a deep breath and headed out any way :-) And YES!! I am super glad I went because the message was incredibly refreshing. The worship was a reflection of God's grace- just what I needed- a reminder that I am what I am only by God's GRACE.

Then came the word- a video sermon by John Ortberg on "Shadow Mission". Until now, I have never heard of the term shadow mission. 

The text of the message was taken from the book of Esther. 

The pivotal role Mordecai played in helping Esther face her shadow mission of relishing in the luxury of the King's palace in order to fulfill God's authentic mission for her was explained. We all, like Esther, are placed in a position for a purpose. But our shadow mission is always competing with the purpose of God. Are we going to settle for the good (shadow mission) when we are created for the best (authentic mission)?

The pleasure and comfort I anticipated deriving from staying in the comfort of my bed instead of heading to Church this morning was definitely one of my shadow missions! Yes- I have more than one, I am so sure!

May God open our eyes to know the difference, give us the courage to face our shadow mission and the desire to stay true to our authentic mission no matter what!

Here are some of my notes from the teaching:
  • A leader's greatest fear is not something that might happen to us but something that might happen in us. 
  • Leaders sometimes choose shadow mission over embracing their true mission.
  • Except by God's help, ones life can be a model of self-idolatry
  • Shadow mission is so closely related to our gifts. Our calling and authentic mission gets hijacked by ego.
  • who is Mordecai in ur life willing to point out ur shadow mission? do u have regular fearless conversation about ur shadow mission?
  • one sign that u are on a shadow mission is when u have a chronic sense of dissatisfaction. Always wanting "more"!
  • You re who you are. You ve been given what u have for a reason. It might not be as dramatic as Esther &Mordecai but we have to face our
  • Just like a shadow, the depth of a shadow mission can never be satisfied. We deal with it by facing it and not denying it
  • God's purpose for your life is certain, not a shadow mission
  • we all face shadow missions...sometimes we allow it to grow into a public scandal 
  • Too many leaders and mission get dragged in the mud because they are afraid to speak up, face their shadow mission and get help.
After the service, I decided to do a little study to have a clearer understanding of the teaching. Here are some of the things I found:

John Ortberg, the author of Overcoming Your Shadow Mission, writes:
A shadow mission is an authentic mission that has been derailed, often in imperceptible ways. Part of what makes the shadow mission so tempting is that it's usually so closely related to our gifts and passions. It's not 180 degrees off track; it is just 10 degrees off track.

Gordon Pruitt writes on his blog:
I believe that God has a mission for each and every one of us and this mission could be a multitude of things. Competing against our God mission is what i call a shadow mission. A shadow mission could be, television, Internet, a sport, a child, a spouse, popularity, wealth, and even blogging! Your shadow mission has the potential to keep you form realizing your God given mission. Many people go through their whole life only knowing their shadow mission. Many believers go through their life and spend more time, energy, and resources focusing on their shadow mission than they don on their God given mission.

"What's your shadow mission? How do you know when you're slipping into it? Here are some ways to tell" writes Holley:
A shadow mission exhausts you while a true mission energizes you
A shadow mission comes from guilt or insecurity while a true mission comes from freedom and love
A shadow mission is about you while a true mission involves you but also includes God and others
A shadow mission leads to resentment while a true mission lets you serve no matter the response
A shadow mission makes you feel more distant from God (even though you're trying to earn his approval) while a true mission brings you closer to him
Most of all, there is just no joy in a shadow mission while a true mission leads to joy even though it may be hard.

From the back cover of the "Overcoming Your Shadow Mission" by John Ortberg:
The challenges, isolation, and relentless demands of leadership can inspire a variety of fears in the heart of a leader; among them fear of failure, fear of mutiny, fear of criticism, fear of disappointing people. However, the greatest fear leaders face is not something that might happen to them, but something that can happen in them—a degeneration of the heart that robs them of their calling and leaves a deep soul dissatisfaction in its place.

John Ortberg describes this menacing fear in terms of mission and shadow mission. A mission is the highest purpose to which God calls us; a shadow mission is an authentic mission that has been derailed, often in imperceptible ways. Ortberg writes, "Part of what makes the shadow mission so tempting is that it's usually so closely related to our gifts and passions. It's not 180 degrees off track; it is just 10 degrees off track, but that 10 degrees is in the direction of hell."

Every leader has a mission—and a shadow mission. Even Jesus had to battle a shadow mission; it was to be a leader without suffering—to be the Messiah without the cross. Ortberg writes, "If we fail to embrace our true mission, we will live out our shadow mission. We will let our lives center around things that are unworthy, selfish and dark."

Using characters from the remarkable Old Testament story of Esther, Ortberg demonstrates the disastrous consequences of succumbing to shadow mission, and the stunning rewards of whole-hearted commitment to mission. With characteristic humor and insight, the author invites us to follow Esther's example and courageously choose to embrace the mission God gives. Like Esther, we can lead without fear—even in threatening circumstances—because we know God is always at work in unseen, unknown and unlikely ways. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

 Image via Behind the Hills, into shadow blog.

1 comment:

  1. Dear sister in Christ, be very wary of this teaching regarding 'shadow'. It is Jungian psychology that has been revived, for whatever reason, and repackaged in the Christian church via willow creek pastors who began a truly disturbing retreat series (The Crucible Project). Google search 'shadow work' will most likely find many links to witches describing how to do it. It is used in the occult. Carl Jung was an avid occultist (alchemy, kaballah, etc) who admits that his psychological theories were developed by using 'spirit guides' and automatic writing. He describes the beginning of the influence of one of his written texts as identical to a demonic possession. This Jungian "Shadow Work" is wreaking havoc on my church right now and it is heartbreaking.