I was a teacher for a few years, back in my early twenties. I would be with the pre-schoolers in the morning and in the afternoon would have ages 3-11 all in the same room for after-school care. One of my favorite things about that time in the afternoon was sitting with the older students and helping them with their homework, particularly math. There’s something so special about that moment of understanding where they go from completely confused to understanding the concept. Every time that lightbulb would come on in their brain, we would both radiate joy.
Have you ever had one of those lightbulb moments in your life? Where things didn’t make sense until the right piece of the puzzle fell into place and it all just clicked?
For years, I had been praying and puzzling and working through my issues, confused about how they all fit together. I thought that I just had a bunch of unrelated little issues until the Lord revealed something powerful to me—my main struggle is with shame.
All of it was rooted in shame.
And I had no idea. I would focus on the symptom. I would try and not be so angry. I would try to release control. I would try to be vulnerable or humble or whatever antidote I thought my behavior needed. But I never addressed the root of the issue. That lightbulb has changed the way that I see my life and the world around me.
Now I’ll walk away from a decision or a situation and realize that my choice or response was, in fact, motivated by shame.
Shame tells me I’m fat, so I select clothes to hide in.
Shame yells that I’m not enough, so I work hard to earn approval.
Shame convinces me that I’m unloveable, so I avoid being known.
But that’s not what the Lord sounds like.
He sounds like hope and joy, love and peace. There’s no condemnation in his voice, only his deep pleasure with me. He doesn’t push me away because I’m unworthy, but he welcomes me in because of what Jesus did. He doesn’t berate me when I let shame trick me again, but celebrates when I reject shame and walk toward him.
This process of untangling myself from shame has shown me just how good the Lord is and how he daily invites me to come closer to him. His graciousness is overwhelming and his love truly never ends. I don’t have to be a captive to shame any longer but can embrace the freedom and victory that was secured for me in Christ. I can live free knowing that he calls me his child, and nothing I do, think, or say will ever change that fact. That position can never be revoked, no matter what shame tries to tell me.
When shame rears her ugly head again, let’s combat those lies with truth, knowing that we are loved and chosen in Jesus and nothing is going to change that.
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