Shame can take many forms. It can be obvious, like when someone openly ridicules us for something we did or said. It can be sneaky- someone compliments us and we immediately start to wonder what they really meant ("you look nice today" reads in our minds as "you normally look exhausted.") Or it can be a daily battle when we look in the mirror and see that one (two, three, one hundred) thing(s) we hate about how we look. Shame can hurt, paralyze and overwhelm … it can make us see life through a distorted lens. And yet sometimes, we have no idea shame has taken such control of our lives.
This morning I was reading a book entitled "Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge. The chapter I was reading was about spiritual warfare and our hearts. In the chapter, Eldredge was talking about the all out assault satan has waged against us and how he manages to do it so subtly. Satan is a liar and there is nothing more he would like than to see us agree with his lies. Eldredge says, "The Enemy will take any small victory he can get. It moves from You did a bad thing to You are bad. Or weak. Or ugly. Or prideful ... After a while it just becomes a cloud we live under, accept as normal" (p.160).
Later in the morning, I listened to a sermon by Pastor Russell Johnson entitled "Jesus Heard the Word." It was an excellent sermon and I felt like it went hand in hand with what I had read earlier. One thing Pastor Russell said that really struck me was "What (you) say shapes the landscape for the type of life (you) live and you cannot afford to allow your interior dialogue to prophecy you into disfunction. You were created for life and life more abundantly."
After feeling so encouraged by what I had read and by the sermon I had heard, one tiny thing happened and it triggered an irrational shame tied to a memory I have. I silently made agreement with it and less than an hour later, another shaming voice popped up. I felt myself spiraling.
I've been on an Amanda Cook kick lately and decided on Friday to make a playlist of her songs. I added a song entitled "Pieces", thinking I knew it. It turns out it was a different version of the song I knew, with a spontaneous portion at the beginning of the song and at the end. As I was listening to it today, tears sprang to my eyes. The first lines she sings are:
You’re giving us new memories
For all the places shame wrote our story
You’re giving us Your memory
It’s not just perspective
It’s innocence restored
When I heard those words, I felt God challenging me to allow Him to show me how He saw me. He was encouraging me to remove the shame. The song goes on to say "His love is proud to be seen with me" - I want to walk in that confidence.
I know it has taken me thirty plus years to allow these lies to become a part of my accepted reality and it won't be undone overnight. But I want to start today, taking down this wall brick by brick until the real me, the person God sees in me, becomes fully alive.
All my love,