It happens more than I’d like to admit. When I’m sweeping my kitchen floor. Pitching hay to the horses. Or even just taking a walk to my mailbox. It likes to remind me of the things I’ve done. Things that people of my past probably remember about me as well. Maybe even the first thing they think of when I share a Bible verse on my Instagram or Facebook. It will hold me back from reaching out to an old friend that God put on my heart, or even just sharing a story from my past with a friend that may benefit from knowing that I’ve gone through the same situation.
It’s the universal muzzle, handcuffs and chains that humankind has all carried around at one point or another. It silences us when we feel like we have something to say that would bring freedom to someone else’s life. It stops us from going after a dream because we fear we may fail and then our whole world would see us as imperfect. It cuts us off from walking in the fullness that God promises His children in John 10, because maybe that’s only for certain people that haven’t done the things I’ve done.
Brene’ Brown defines shame as, “The intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love.” I agree with her words, but I’d also like to add what I believe goes with it.
Shame is the intensely painful feeling driven by fear, that we choose to believe that we are unworthy of love.
You see, since shame is a feeling, it means that we make a choice to let it come into our minds. I know this may seem far-fetched because, “Why would anyone choose to let such a damaging and terrible emotion take control of us?” I truly believe that every emotion we have, is something that we allow to come into our lives. We give it the power. We allow it to stay, set up camp, then eventually start pushing happiness out, gratitude out and if it is not evicted, it will then gradually take over our attitude towards life and everyone around us.
If shame is driven by fear, it means that it’s main fuel source is the lies that we believe about ourselves. And who is the Father of Lies? That’d be Satan, our enemy. The one that was defeated at the cross by Jesus, but still has power on this earth because we as Children of God hand it over to him. We partner with him when we believe the lie that who we were in the past or the things we did in the past makes us not enough or worthy of love, acceptance and true abundance today. That’s garbage….but everyday my brothers and sisters live like this. I live like this! It’s not what Jesus died for and it’s not what He wants for His beloved Bride. You are in control of you and when you learn to let Holy Spirit work in your mind, will and emotions (your heart!) He will show you the lies you’re believing. He’ll show you where you need to renew your mind by getting God’s Word inscripted into it. He’ll speak identity (How God sees you) over you and your identity is firmly planted in Jesus. Without Him, you are not you.
But it’s up to you!
God gave us free will to choose Him. To choose to love Him and believe and trust in Him. That also means then, that we control who we partner with. The thoughts that we let into our minds.
Second Corinthians 10:4-5 states, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
When we become a follower of Jesus, we were infused with the power of the Holy Spirit to exercise the capability of capturing every thought and holding it under the light of what God says about us. Shame cannot hide when God’s Word is shone upon it. Shame is like a fungus that grows in the dark and damp forest of fear and lies, but when those are tore down and the Light of God is let in, it dries up and dies. BUT WE HAVE TO EXERCISE THAT POWER! We have to stop letting our mind go down the rabbit hole of regret that leads to shame. It’s ok to remember what happened or what we did in the past, but don’t let that feeling plant lies. Learn from it, but then tell it to get out and carry on knowing that the only purpose it serves in your life is that it causes you to look unto your future with a new fervor knowing that you are not that person anymore and there is now way in HELL that you will go back there!
So if it’s a choice, it’s up to you. Don’t run away from it, hide from it, or numb it with drugs, alcohol, sex or food. Face it. You have the power inside of you to make the choice. It’s a God given power and it’s wrapped up in this really beautiful packaging called” IDENTITY” and it’s how God sees you.
You see when we do mess up, God doesn’t get angry at us and think of all those past mistakes we’ve made and that we’re never going to get better…NO…He looks ahead and says, “My child, this is just a bump in the road, but I call you worthy, beloved, beautiful, overcomer, victor and I’m absolutely crazy in love with You! Come on let’s go, we’ve got things to do and adventures to go on. Choose to leave those lies and fears right here in the dirt where they belong. Grab my hand and let’s get moving!”
With God all things are possible! (Mark 10:27)) God can take your mess and turn it into your message. He makes beauty from ashes! He’s God, He can do anything, but it takes you believing He can. Simple trust in knowing that He’s God and He’s really good at doing God stuff. Mainly loving His Children!
So here’s a few action steps that I believe can help you move in the right direction of not letting shame plant it’s dirty claws into your life and allow you to grasp hold of the life of abundance and freedom that Jesus died for you to have:
Read Your Bible!- Yes, I’m sure you probably knew this would be my first step, but it really is the first step if you are born again in Jesus.
IF YOU”RE NOT, again it’s a simple step, but THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you’ll do in your life! Ask Him into your heart, then just follow Him, tell someone about your decision then get hooked into a Bible teaching and Spirit-filled church and I can help you find one!
Back to reading your BIBLE…God’s Word is living and breathing, they’re not just words on a page. They have power in them, especially when we speak them out loud. So go to the one of the Gospel’s, Mathew, Mark, Luke or John (John’s my fave!) and read what Jesus says. Highlight the areas that speak to you, YES, YOU CAN WRITE IN YOUR BIBLE! Mark it up, put sticky notes in it, it’s yours!
Crank up the worship music!- When praise goes up, walls come down! (Hillsong wrote that, but go read about the walls of Jericho!) Learning to give God praise and worship is one of a Jesus Follower’s greatest honors. It’s the one thing we can give God…and guess what? When you do this, He shows up EVERY TIME! The Bible says, “God inhabits the praises of His Children!” So however that looks like to you, just do it. It can be in your car, on your living room floor, in church or anywhere. I cannot speak enough on how absolutely freeing and important this is!
Pray and ask God how He sees you.- Get quiet, turn off all distractions (another reason I wake up super early!) and just ask Him. Maybe you write it out in your journal or ask Him out loud, but it’s really vital to know that He’s hearing your words and He’s faithful to answer you. Most of the time for me, when I do this, a word will pop into my mind that I know is not a word I would just conjure up. It’s from my PAPA! His words are always encouraging, uplifting and speak right into our spirit about our identity.
Take responsibility- After you’ve started getting God’s Word inscripted into your heart from reading your Bible, got freedom from worshipping and praising, and prayed and asked God how He sees you….IT’S UP TO YOU to make the choice to believe everything you’ve just learned and experienced and to shut down any word, thought or belief that goes against what God says about you.
You are His. You belong to Him. You are His Son or Daughter. Your past does not own you.
Shame may know your name, but you know Who you belong to.
Start walking in that. Start living like it. Bring that knowing that you are loved, worthy and accepted by God into every relationship, every situation and just see what God can do!