Shame became my companion…
So secretly and subtily that I didn’t even see him coming. Like that acquaintance that kind of tags along quietly with a group of friends, whose presence goes almost unnoticed until everyone else has left the party.
And in this case, it was in the moment that I had lost hold of my joy, misplaced my peace, had a falling out with both logic and reason, couldn’t find self esteem, value or self worth, and beauty simply refused to be my friend, that I saw him. Sitting there, as smug as can be, waiting to “console” me.
I knew that I should have dismissed him right then and there, because once he wraps his arms around you, it can be so hard to make him let go. But I ignored the knowing, and as he leaned close, I could smell his stale, stagnant breath, laden with the missteps and mistakes of so many years of my life. He parted his lips and began to speak, spewing out accusatory and condemning thoughts and ideas, that he then worked tirelessly to make me believe were my own.
The thing about shame is that he attempts to secure a permanent place with you by introducing you to his best friend – Fear of Exposure. He keeps you feeling vulnerable and naked by threatening to reveal all of your hidden faults and failures to anyone who will listen. He intimidates you into allowing him to remain your companion by convincing you that if the rest of the world knew the truth about you, he is the only one who would still want you.
But today I am exposing Shame. I am calling him out as the fraud he attempts to make me believe that I am.
Shame’s agenda is to alienate and assassinate your most productive, meaningful and wholesome relationships in the present by keeping you handcuffed, as long as possible, to your past, no matter how long ago it was. He steals opportunities before they even materialize. He locks doors before you even arrive. He works overtime to make sure that you Never. Even. Try.
You can recognize his voice because he always lies to you, tells you the opposite of the Word of God:
“Hey, you know all of that nonsense about being a new creature, that song you love to sing about all things being made new?? Yup, not true – You’re still that same person that messed up all those years ago.”
“And you know how you love to throw around this idea that God has forgiven and forgotten – Yeah, He still sees you the same way, and He’s just waiting for you to fail…again.”
“Don’t let me get started on this ridiculous notion of ‘no condemnation’ – You’re still guilty and still unworthy.”
Lies. Lies that directly oppose God’s Word and His promises to us.
In John 8:34-36, Jesus responds to the questioning of the Jews about what He meant by stating that the truth would make them free with the following:
“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, everyone who practices sin habitually is a slave of sin. Now the slave does not remain in a household forever; the son [of the master] does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free” (John 8:34-36 AMP).
Shame attempts to convince us that the freedom found in belief in the Son of God and repentance from sin, is merely a token an act designed to assuage our emotions, and quiet our conscience. But the freedom that Jesus gives, not only releases us from our past, and delivers us into righteous living in the present, but it also removes the hand, silences the voice, and reverses the impact of shame in our lives, from this very moment and into the future.
They say that in an argument, the person who is the most wrong is the one who yells the loudest. Shame screams our past and our faults and our failures at us because he has nothing new to say or do to us. If we successfully separate our hope for the future from the pain of our past, shame ultimately loses all power. And because he has no control over the future, he strives to keep us paralyzed in the only place that we have true power to make change – the present.
So today, I’m exposing Shame. I’m calling him out, and I’m casting him out. Because my future is too bright, too important, too full of potential, to allow a mere shadow of the past to keep me from embracing the place that God has for me.
And yours is too!