It’s often described as a blanket. It kind of wraps around you. The devil fools you into thinking it’s comfortable, that it’s where you belong.
We experience shame in any number of things. Our past haunts us, our marriages feel like they’re failing, we never measure up. Sometimes we put shame on ourselves. The guilt sits long enough and we don’t even notice it’s there. The devil tricks us into believing that it’s part of who we are, what we deserve. That it may be, what we deserve. But that’s not grace and it’s not the way we were intended to live.
Shame is all around us. It’s so much a part of our culture that we normalize it. We judge ourselves in accordance with what the person next to us is doing. We’re either “not as bad as all that” or “I’ll never measure up to that.” We turn on the tv and judge our bodies based on false images, and feel the shame creep in. We hide our whole selves, only letting pieces out, because we know that judgement eventually looms with each person we meet.
Shame is at its worst when it comes from a brother. How often do we give someone the benefit of the doubt? How often do we fail to see the story behind the pain? People everywhere are afraid to walk into churches (including Jesus-loving, church girls…even pastor’s wives), because shame waits.
Half of it is a lie of the devil, and half of it is a lie of our culture.
Church isn’t for looking a certain way or getting it together so we can meet with God. Church is for the abused and the abuser. Church is for the faith-filled and the faithless. Church is for the hurting and those who have hurt.
It’s time to throw off the shame.
It’s time to defy it.
As a person, as a church, as a culture.
As a woman, I have particular battles with shame I can name and by naming, I can begin to take some power from it. I don’t feel beautiful enough, smart enough, good enough, or just plain enough. So, I get up each morning and defy shame. You are not a part of me, shame. You are not invited to this party. Christ promises me in John 8 and Romans 8 that he doesn’t condemn me and who else should? No one. I’m throwing off the blanket and letting my whole self out. I’ll mess up, as I have in the past. I’ll say words that should have been more careful, but relationships will be healed because I will be real. I’m not enough, but Christ in me is.
He looks on me and I am radiant. He tells me I will never be in shame.
I’m going to believe His promises, place them on repeat and believe them again. I look to Him, and holler, “Help my unbelief!” when the shame creeps in.
We need people in our lives who help us do this, and in His grace, God sends them. Look around you, who are your shame defiers around you? Who holds us your arms and lifts your chin when you feel the weight of shame? I have a friend named Erin. Each time I talk to her, she reminds me what’s the shame talking in my life.
Believing in His promises, defying shame, until He comes again.
Those who look to Him are radiant; and their faces are never covered in shame. Psalm 34:5