Today I’m pleased to introduce my friend, Laurel, who graciously shares her story of wrestling with shame. For so many of us, shame is closely associated to our body image struggles. I hope her words will be a blessing to you today. If shame is a part of your battle, know you are not alone.
Just love yourself more.
Make yourself happy.
Go where your heart leads you.
This is the world’s advice when we struggle with self-esteem.
Yet, what if we called it for what it was?
It’s not a lack of self-esteem; it’s a fountain of shame.
Shame, whether you were a willing accomplice or unwilling participant, slams the world’s doors in your face and you feel like this:
I sometimes think that shame, mere awkward, senseless shame, does as much towards preventing good acts and straightforward happiness as any of our vices can do.
–C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
I found this to be oh, so true these past two weeks. I was confronted with sorrow, regret, grief and shame.
The kind that knocks your knees out from under you.
The kind that keeps you up at night.
The kind that has you doubled over, trying to remember to breathe.
The husband, knowing the pain points, asked a question. “If you get this, will you be happy?”
The reply that I knew to be true but didn’t feel it. “No, I don’t think so.”
This is not so much for what I can no longer have, but for all that has been lost.
It called to mind naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25). At one point, this was right and true.
The hard part is in what shame does. It condemns you. It crushes you. It leaves you walking away from people who care and want to help. It isolates you. It deceives you into thinking you’re worthless and good things won’t come to you. No matter how good things are right now.
And in that cycle of thinking, the Enemy delights. For he comes only to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) and what better way to accomplish his to-do list than heap your regret and shame upon you?
I was lovingly forced into saying what I had worked so diligently at covering up.
Shame for what I felt. Shame for what cannot be. Shame for what is surely on display for all I come across. They see me and they know. Don’t they? That’s why I can’t be around them. Because they know.
But in the confession, in the yelling, in the saying what I was feeling – healing started.
Three more times that day I acknowledged the shame and said specifically why I was sinking under my load.
They loved me. That was all. They offered me nothing but truth (some of it painful) and hope.
That Christ alone bears my sin and shame. It’s not for me to bear.
In Him, I have been washed whiter than snow and though it does not feel it, it just is.
He’s taken my rags and given me a robe of righteousness.
He’s taken my brokenness and made me new.
He calls me His beloved whether I feel it or not.
Whether I act it or not.
Whether I look it or not.
I so desperately want to go back to naked and unashamed. The regret rattles hard inside and the sorrow overtakes far too easily. The shame comes like a thief and the grief undoes me.
Beloved, might there be a place where you’ve fallen prey to the Enemy?
What are the situations that you run from?
What is the lie you have believed?
What are the thoughts spinning in your head that you would never share?
What are the moments that make you cringe and duck for cover?
The wisdom from this world is folly and the best way to defeat the shame is to bring it to light.
Find someone, a true friend, a gospel-centered acquaintance, and let them point you to Jesus.
Let the confession bring healing and know when Christ cried, “It is finished!” he meant that for you and whatever you may be battling right now.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Then you shall see and be radiant…
Because he has made you beautiful.
You shall be called by a new name. That the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God…
For the Lord delights in you…
Taken from Isaiah 60 and 62
Laurel lives the country life in the outskirts of a Texas town with her superhero husband and four fantastic boys. Her biggest compliment, to date, happened when her then-five-year-old told her she had gotten way better at making Pb&J’s.
She swoons over anything pink and flowery and her happy place includes sweet tea, dear friends and laughter. In her spare time, she reads the Sugar Creek Gang with her boys, mends cuts and scrapes, chases chickens and teaches women how to love God by diving into his word at Mission Church, Forney. She has given herself over to driving a sliding door SUV held together with cheetah duct tape – she feels it keeps her humble – and dreams of one day owning pigs and goats.
She writes down more of her thoughts at laurelewing.blogspot.com.
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