Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 19

Why am I so willing to accept others and tell them how much God loves them right where they are, yet I find myself struggling to receive that and apply it in my own life? It's nothing I purposely set out to do. I don't wake up and say - wow what a wonderful day. But I suck. I don't deserve this life. It's just there. My constant companion whom I forget about at times but who loves to remind me that he's still there.

The presence of shame in my life has decreased dramatically the past 11 months. It's been hard work and I consider that a miracle as I am almost 42 and shame has filled a large portion of my life. But shame still rears it's ugly head and usually in unexpected settings. And as shame creeps in, I begin to feel unsure and unsettled even though I "know" different. I cognitively know that God loves me and that He sent Jesus to die for me. He loves me.

I know that Jesus spent His time with those who were not redeemable by the law's standards. He fellowshipped with sinners. He didn't cast a stone at the woman caught in the act of adultery. And he didn't debate her guilt. He simply loved her right then, in that moment and said, "Neither do I condemn you."

At that point I wonder how she felt. Can you imagine our Lord and Savior looking at us and saying I do not condemn you? At that moment I think she felt more than forgiveness. She had to have also felt an intense love and acceptance.

As I think this through I find that there is a major difference between guilt and shame. Guilt convicts me and lets me know that I've done something wrong but also give me consolation that there is a way out. Guilt is fixable - forgivable.

But shame says there is something wrong with me. Shame tells me I am broken, worthless and unlovable. Shame makes me feel unfixable - unforgivable.

I am tired of feeling ashamed. Most of the things I am ashamed of happened many years ago. When I look at it without emotion I know that the people who know and love me now would not judge me for things that happened at least 13 years ago. Some of it was not my fault and some of it was. But it's the past. I keep digging up the sin that Christ has redeemed me from. I imagine that's like throwing His gift in His face. I am sorry Lord.

Right now, right at this moment I choose something different. I know longer want shame to have a voice in my life. Even now as I type this I have said outloud, "I rebuke shame in the name of Jesus." I would probably scream it if my kids were not asleep. But saying it is enough. The enemy hears me. He will flee.

Before I reflect on today, let me tell you a short story. Salem, my 7 year old, tends to be a tad anxious. Almost every night at bedtime she cries a bit and says mommy what if I get scared, what if I hear something, what if...

We pray and talk and I always promise her that she can come to me with her fear and I will help her through it. Then we repeat the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7 - God didn't give me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Today's Reflection: Lord you see the real me. You know my faults and You still love me. My husband knows me and he loves me. I have friends and family who know me and they love me. My girls may not know details about my past, but they love me. I have more love than I could ever need to battle the shame in my life. You have redeemed me from my guilt and my shame. You do not condemn me. Therefore today I choose to no longer condemn myself. Tonight I choose to take this childlike step of faith that I encourage Salem to take each night. Lord you did not give me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I come to you with childlike faith and ask You to help me step forward in faith and courage and redemption and not stagnate in fear and shame.

Additional Note: This is a great sermon from a local church regarding shame. If you have a few moments listen to it.


Allison October 20, 2009 at 5:31 PM  

I love you!!! I don't know why that is hard for me to tell other people other than my family. I'll have to work on that. =)

Trish October 20, 2009 at 7:14 PM  

Isn't it amazing how some things just get so rooted into our lives that it's hard to completely cut them out? I would say a big one for me is feeling like I'm not good enough instead of recognizing that God made me the way I am and loves me.

On another note, my son has recently started being fearful of going upstairs or downstairs without me. It's very disconcerting as I don't know if it's just a delayed developmental stage he is going through or reflects something spiritual. I'm going to press in a little more on this one than I have been, I think.

Leah October 21, 2009 at 9:53 PM  

Trish - there is such a fine line between natural fear and letting the enemy take root with fear in our life. I know my 7 year old memorizing that scripture and us repeating it often really help. I also pray that God would lessen the anxiety in my own life so I can be brighter light. I also pray that God breaks what I consider a generational curse in our lives. Keep me posted on what happens when you press in.

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