We all have what the famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called our “shadow” – those parts of ourselves of which we are either ignorant or choosing to hide. Once we realize that these shadows hinder our ability to minister, we can choose to engage what Richard Rohr describes as “shadowboxing.” So how do you shadowbox?
One way is to pay attention to where you see repeated negative patterns in your life both in the things you do and avoid doing. Take time to consider what might be the underlying cause(s) of these negative patterns and examine the spiritual formation practices that can assist you in overcoming them through the Spirit. I try and pay special attention to those people, comments, and situations that trigger over-reaction in me. Why do I have a particular patterned respond? What are the things that are complicit in my over reaction? Do they occur at a specific time of the day/week? Am I tired or hungry or stressed or something else completely?
The important part is engaging in the process so as to better identify those things that contribute to your over reaction. From there you can assemble a plan that will allow you to partner with the Spirit to discover a better way forward.