i’ve really been thinking of this idea of shame lately.
i always used to joke with church friends about denominations, and my catholic friends would always talk about the guilt the church put on them via confession, etc.
i got to thinking about my own church experience (i always say i’m a recovering southern baptist) and i just look at the immense shame that was loaded onto us as kids and teenagers.
there was this moral code that we had to live by. not that a moral code is bad in and of itself, but it wasn’t holiness. it was more like a checklist of things so that we could make God happy, at least that’s the way i received it.
if i messed up and did something wrong i surely didn’t want anyone to know, so i became really good at covering it up. i only cursed around my non-church friends. i attributed my virginity through high school as a pursuit of purity when the truth is i was too nerdy for any girls in my small town to sleep with (i sure did try)
this shame led to a dual world in college. i had my church friends and my other friends. my church friends had no idea of the life i lived outside of their presence, my shame wouldn’t let them. i wrote the other day how my parents didn’t really shame me, but others did, so i learned how to hide and lie.
so why? why do we continue in this pattern of shame when true freedom lies in confession. we’re so afraid that someone will reject us because of what we’ve done. it’s because it has happened. people judge and walk away because of actions.
but God is so much bigger than that. i hate that i project on Him the way people act sometimes. He says His ways are higher than our ways, but we think He will treat us like they do. we can’t fathom this idea of grace that would reach down into our shame and pull us out of it. so we try to hide yet again. problem is you can’t hide behind a fig leaf. God sees it all. He sees it all and He still loves us. wouldn’t that be amazing for us to get? to see people for who they really are? no masks. no lies. no shame. no judgement. just love. i realize that is not a human tendency because of our own brokenness, but if we could let God live through us? the old version of me is dead. i now live in Him. He lives through me. and the more i embrace that, and Him, the more the old dead stuff will fall away. i won’t have to worry about shame and the list because my heart will be far from those things.
the bible tells in Matthew that we are the light of the world. we can’t be hidden. we don’t hide the light under anything, yet when we are ashamed, we try to do just that. but the light always reveals what is true, that’s why we sometimes try to stick to the shadows. the true Light shows us the way.
His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light–light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazing through murky bottoms. It cannot, and will not be quenched. John 1:4-5 The Voice
even in the darkest place, a glimmer of light will be seen. and His is no small flame.
let us walk out of shame and into His light today. are you with me? it isn’t easy, but it will bring us freedom and rest. i see the light, lets walk toward it.