Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17
What did you do over the Labor Day weekend? I spent the weekend watching Star Wars. Every. Single. One. of the VII episodes. Y’all probably had no idea that I’m into Star Wars. You would be right. I’m not. I remember seeing a few scenes from the early movies in my childhood, and I definitely saw Episode II three times in the theater with my high school girlfriends – we had such a huge crush on Hayden Christensen – but that’s about the extent of my Star Wars experience. My friend Candace, on the other hand, is a HUGE Star Wars fan and has, like, multiple copies of the DVDs with all the different versions.
So, having minimal Labor Day plans, I asked Candace and our friend Robyn if they wanted to marathon-watch the episodes over the long weekend with me. To my great surprise they agreed, AND we recruited several additional friends. It was a whole Star Wars party all weekend. I’m talking every seat in the room taken. I’m talking people brought food for a potluck-style movie experience over multiple days. It was way more fun than I thought it was going to be, and, bonus! the movies were pretty great, too :) . My job was to read the scrolling words at the beginning of each movie, and Candace’s job was to clear up confusion about what planet we were on or to tell us a cool back-story about the actors.
A big theme woven throughout the movies is the struggle between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force. Episodes I-III show Anakin Skywalker’s slow descent into the Dark Side, and Episodes IV-VI show Luke Skywalker fighting a similar battle as he learns the ways of the Jedi. Finally, in Episode VII, just when we thought balance was restored to the Force (that’s Star Wars-speak for peace, y’all), Kylo Ren has a big bad inner battle with the Dark Side. Will he let in the light, or will he keep following the dark side to what will inevitably be his own destruction? I can’t tell you that. Mostly because I don’t know. We have to wait till Episode VIII, or more probably Episode IX (I think I finally understand why they teach Roman Numerals in school) to find out.
The thing that the master Jedi keep trying to tell their wayward young apprentices is that fear, shame, pain, and feelings of unworthiness are the fastest trains to the Dark Side. This is a recurring theme in the Bible, too.
One of my favorite Biblical characters is David. David’s stories are worthy of a Star Wars-esque trilogy. First, he’s the runt of the family, but his faith in God gives him the boldness to fight and kill Goliath with just a slingshot and a few stones. Then, after being King Saul’s second-hand man he has to go on the run when the King turns against him out of jealousy and greed for power. David eventually becomes King himself, and all appears to be well for a while until he has an affair with Bathsheba and then, out of fear and shame when she becomes pregnant, he sends her husband to the frontlines of a battle to die. King David’s lightning-fast descent into adultery, murder, and separation from God are terrifying reminders about how we do actually make decisions toward the light or dark side on a daily basis.
(Spoiler Alert!) The good news is that after a lot of pain and heartache both Darth Vader and King David are redeemed in the end. The better news? We can avoid a lengthy trip through the dark side and its collateral damage with the help of a little accountability.
Anakin and Luke had Obi Wan Kenobi and David had the Prophet Nathan to mentor them and hold them accountable for their actions. Do you have an accountability partner? This could be a friend, family member, partner who loves you and doesn’t judge you when you make mistakes.
Asking someone to be your accountability buddy can feel weird at first, but you can approach it your own way. For example, I have some financial goals that I’m pursuing right now. I know that my friend Paris has similar goals, so when we hang out I will check in with her and ask her to check in with me about where we’re at. Sometimes if I’m about to make a purchase that’s out of alignment, I will remember that Paris is going to ask me about my finances the next time I see her and that gives me the boost I need to get back on track.
To stay on the light side of the force, you have to let in the light. If there’s a feeling, a conflict, a decision that you are keeping hidden from others, chances are you’re out of alignment with your own values and best interest. Don’t let shame and fear keep you small! Reach out to a trusted friend to gain some perspective and support. If you surround yourself with people who hold you accountable to being your best self, living out your values, and striving for your goals, you and your friends will truly be a Force to be reckoned with. May the Force be with you!
Who in your life holds you accountable for staying on the light side? If you don’t have anyone, who can you ask this week? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And thanks for reading!