September 19, 2022
Shame is like a prison.
Shame, in this culture, can be defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Have you ever dealt with shame?
I know for certain I have. I've grown up in a Christian family, went to church, etc. You may think, "Well how on earth have you dealt with shame?" In my situation, shame came in the form of never being perfect enough and all the mistakes I've made in the past. Shame is an identity factor. It attacks our identity.
The Devil uses everything he can to shame us. He will use past mistakes and sin, and maybe even mistakes we make right now to take us into a corner, isolate us, and then leave us feeling useless there.
I always believed no one understood, no one cared, and if they saw the real me, their whole perspective of me would change. That was far from the truth.
One of my favorite things to read while I was walking through shame was from Getting Rid of Shame, Toxic influences, and Unforgiveness by Life.Church:
"The feeling of guilt comes when we've acted wrongly or misbehaved, and it convicts us as 'I did something bad.' The feeling of shame comes when we feel embarrassed, and it attacks with the lie that says 'I am something bad.' Guilt focuses on the actions, shame focuses on the person." "We don't have to wait until we're at our breaking point to evaluate what's broken."
There are people who care. I didn't really realize that, until one Sunday night. I poured my heart out to my youth leader's wife, and she didn't try to comfort me through what I was going through. Instead, she looked it in the face and picked up the fight with me. Vulnerability is key to healing.
Colossians 3:9-10 (NIV) says,
"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."
You can't move on unless you can address the shame, the lie, etc.
Something God spoke to me in that season was this: "When you verbalize what you're going through with other believers, you give up the fight on your own, and then others are fighting with you and for you."
You may be the best listener, and the best advisor, but when you don't address your own issues you keep sinking into that pit the Devil keeps digging and digging. Thankfully, that's not where it ends. The answer to shame is an empty grave, and you are not too far gone to be restored! That is why Jesus came to earth. He came for sinful people like you and me. Jesus was nailed to the cross with all the shame of the world. He took all our sins on the cross, died with them while God turned his back on his only Son, and then rose again defeating sin and grave!
I Am Not Ashamed
Now I don't know about you but that is the best news I've ever heard. Now let's try something:
I am not ___. Because of Christ I am ____.
I am not empty. Because of Christ I am full. (Ephesians 2:10)
I am not lost. Because of Christ I am found. (Matthew 18:12-14)
I am not a prisoner. Because of Christ I am free. (Galatians 5:1)
Because of Christ, I am here. Make your own, and remember them the next time the Devil tries to attack you. The love of God is all I need, and the love of God is all you need. You can't find love and healing anywhere but his presence. Addressing shame is always hard, but once you have, you can breathe again. Trust me, I know.
You got this.
Keep on fighting.