20 Jun Shame About My Shame
At this point, three months have passed since the Shame conference that was held at Grace Church.
And I am just now able to start articulating what God revealed to me during those days and weeks following. To be honest, when I first heard about the conference I thought “Okay, I’ll go, but only because I think it will help me teach others.” I thought it was for “others,” not me. I didn’t struggle with shame. I didn’t think I had any shame.
And then I started feeling shame that I had no shame.
The enemy whispered to me, “You have lived an easy life. Think about what all of the other women that will be there have experienced and endured. What shame could you possibly have about your easy life? Your struggles are mundane. You should be able to conquer them on your own, really. You don’t have anything to offer.”
When I listen to those lies, I begin to believe I am exactly what Satan wants me to feel I am: Worthless. Useless. Insignificant. Invisible. The truth about who God is and who I am in Him is completely hidden behind a storm of shame that comes on so quickly I don’t even know I need to take cover. I believe the lie that I am worthless, which paralyzes me in ways I am still unpacking.
“The truth about who God is and who I am in Him is completely hidden behind a storm of shame that comes on so quickly I don’t even know I need to take cover.”
It turns out, I have plenty of shame.
There have been times when I have refrained from praying for something because I felt shame in asking God because it seemed silly or “too small” to even mention. In conversations with friends, when I see they are hurting as they confide in me, that voice whispers “you don’t have anything to offer,” so I self-protect and silence the Spirit in me that is trying to speak truth to them from my past experiences. When I look at pictures of my younger, thinner self, I instantly begin making mental lists of everything I will stop eating. When I forget about one of my kids’ awards days, I compare myself to the other good moms who showed up and begin to wonder how else I am screwing up my kids.
“You are so selfish to pray that.”
“You don’t have anything to offer.”
“The thinner you are, the better you are.”
“A good mom wouldn’t forget.”
I left the conference angry. Yes, odd response, but as I worked through why I felt so angry, I learned it was because I felt cheated. By living in shame, not even realizing that’s what it is, I feel robbed of years of authentic living in Christ and in the fullness of His redemption. The Bible doesn’t name all types of anger as sinful. Oftentimes anger is a test of a deeper issue – fear, hurt, disappointment. I was feeling all of these things as God uncovered the impact of my shame. Anger is an emotion meant to motivate towards change, and now armed with the knowledge of the shame I have walked in over the years, I don’t have to hide anymore.
“There is freedom that comes when the light of God’s word shines on the dark corners of my life. Sin cannot live in the light.”
The last thing that Satan wants is for news to get out that freedom is available in surrendering to Jesus. He wants us to keep trying to save ourselves in our own ways, slaves to our performance and blind to our own sin. It is not the shame I need to fear – it is my blindness to it that threatens my relationship with Christ! The question I have to ask myself: do I care more about my relationship with Jesus or whether or not He’s making my life better? Because bringing sin to light means my life will get worse. Sin is ugly, confession is not easy, repentance is grueling work. There is freedom that comes when the light of God’s word shines on the dark corners of my life. Sin cannot live in the light. The quicker I can recognize my sin and confess it to God and others, the faster it gets put to death, and the shame associated with hidden sin doesn’t even have a chance to grow.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23,24 (ESV)
When her kids were little, Molly lived an organic vegetable garden and homemade laundry detergent life. In her current season, she lives a Little Caesars and Round-Up life, and only the promises of Jesus have made her okay with that. She loves learning, coffee and hanging out with her husband. Molly attends our Pelham campus.