Shadow Work and Christianity: An Unexpected Connection

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Over the last few years, shadow work has gained a lot of popularity in personal growth, spiritual and self-help circles. And, while shadow work is not necessarily tied to any particular religion, it has been embraced by some within the Christian community as a way to deepen their faith and understanding of themselves and others better.

In this article, we are going to explore the connection between shadow work and Christianity. I hope that by the end of the article, you will have a better understanding of shadow work and whether it is right for you on your journey with the Lord.

But before we begin, let’s take a quick look at what exactly shadow work is. In a nutshell, shadow work is a way of exploring repressed thoughts. behavior patterns, emotions, and experiences in our lives. By examining these hidden parts of ourselves we get a better understanding of our motivations, fears, and desires and we can develop more authentic relationships with ourselves and others.

Want a more detailed explanation of exactly what shadow work is? Learn everything you need to know here!

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The Connection Between Shadow Work and Christianity

While shadow work may seem like a foreign concept to some Christians with many misconceptions that abound, there are many people who believe that it can be tied back to Christian theology.

The Bible teaches us that we are all sinners, fallen short of God’s glory and that we must confess our sins and turn away from them to receive forgiveness and new life in Christ.

Shadow work offers a powerful tool for this process of self-examination and repentance.

For God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-7

How Shadow Work Can Deepen Christian Faith

Shadow work is a valuable tool for personal growth and there are many that believe that it is just as valuable for spiritual development. By exploring the hidden parts of our minds we can gain a deeper understanding of our own sinful nature and our need for a savior. Shadow work also allows us to develop a greater sense of empathy and compassion for others, and become more effective in our witness for Christ.

By exploring our unconscious mind and bringing hidden patterns and emotions to the surface we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our relationship with God.

Shadow work can also help to identify and overcome negative patterns and beliefs that may be holding us back from fully embracing our faith and growing with Christ.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

2 Corinthians 13:5

In the above scripture, Paul suggests that self-reflection and introspection are important aspects of the Christian faith and Shadow Work can be seen as a way to explore and examine yourself.

Does The Bible Speak About Shadow Work?

No, the bible doesn’t specifically mention shadow work. There are however a few bible verses that can be interpreted as referring to the idea of exploring one’s inner self and hidden side. Here are a couple:

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

In the above scripture, Matthew records Jesus’ teaching that emphasizes the importance of self-reflection before being critical or judging others over their perceived issues. The verse starts by asking why we tend to notice the small problems or faults in others while ignoring the bigger problems or faults in ourselves. Jesus uses the metaphor of a speck in someone else’s eye and a log in our own eye to illustrate this point.

Jesus sitting and watching a woman journaling

The verse then goes on to say that we should take care of our own issues first before judging or trying to “fix” others. The phrase “first take the log out of your own eye” suggests that we need to do some self-reflection and self-improvement before we can effectively help others.

By doing shadow work we can become more aware of our own motivations and behaviors which will allow us to become more authentic and compassionate in our relationships with others – by taking care of our own “logs” first, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and become better equipped to help others with their “specks.”

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

The above scripture is a teaching from Paul that encourages believers not to conform to the patterns of the world but to renew their minds. This transformation is said to be the result of testing which allows us to discern the will of God and what is good and acceptable to him.

Shadow work can be seen as a way to explore our minds and thoughts and to challenge the patterns and beliefs that we may have adopted from the world around us. By “being transformed by the renewing of our minds,” we can break free from any negative patterns, thoughts, fears, and behaviors in our lives and better align ourselves with God and his will for our lives.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

2 Chorinthians 10: 5

In this verse, which is included in a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church of Corinth, Paul says that Christians should make every thought obedient to Christ – all their thoughts, especially those which can stem from doubt, envy, selfishness, greed, etc. which are often are hidden within the shadow self.

Here is a great video that I think sums this idea up perfectly!


God wants you to not simply neglect negative thoughts, but to take them captive and subject them to Christ. #bibleverse #Bible #faith #jesuschrist #amen #God #foryou #fypシ

♬ original sound – Colby F. Maier

Practical Ways to Incorporate Shadow Work into Your Christian Life

Here are a few practical ways to incorporate shadow work into your Christian life:

  1. Journaling: Take time to reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and experiences, and write them down in a journal. Look for patterns, themes, and areas where you may be hiding from the truth.
  2. Confession: Confess your sins and weaknesses to a trusted friend or mentor, and seek their prayer and support.
  3. Self-reflection: Take time to meditate on your motivations, desires, and fears, and try to understand how they may be driving your behavior.
  4. Service: Look for opportunities to serve others, and allow their needs to take precedence over your own desires.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

Negative Viewpoints About Shadow Work And Christianity

While there are many who embrace the idea of using shadow work as a way to explore the hidden fears, emotions, experiences, and desires within us there are other Christians who are skeptical or even opposed to Shadow Work with some even believing it is dangerous.

They argue that the concept of shadow work is rooted in secular psychology and is incompatible with Christian teachings. They believe that shadow work may lead people away from the truth of the gospel and encourage them to focus on themselves rather than on God. They emphasize the importance of focusing on Christ rather than dwelling on human philosophies and techniques – they feel that shadow work may lead to an excessive focus on the self and the unconscious mind, rather than God and the conscious mind.

If you have made it this far, I would love to hear your thoughts on shadow work and Christianity. Do you have any other scripture or viewpoints either for or against the use of shadow work in the Christian walk? Let me know in the comments below!


Shadow work can be a powerful tool for exploring ourselves and deepening our faith and understanding of our Christian walk. By doing shadow work, we get a better appreciation for the grace and mercy of God and we also become more compassionate towards others. It is however important to remember that shadow work is only a tool and whether you use it or not is a personal decision that should be made with careful consideration and prayer.