Shame is a silent killer and I’m so grateful for the victory I have over it…
Shame, a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. The synonyms of shame are: humiliate, mortify, chagrin, embarrass, abash, and my favorite, cut down to size.
I don’t have a certified PhD in “shame” hanging in my office; I don’t need one. However, I have experienced shame many times and I’m sure you, dear reader, have too. It’s an all too familiar feeling for some. I remember listening to Brene Brown, a woman who actually has her PhD in the study of shame (I’m sure there’s a more fitting and even professional term for that), and during one of her talks on shame she mentioned that every person is appropriated to a certain degree with shame. If I remember correctly, she noted that a healthy amount of shame sort of keeps the human race alive, in that, this emotion or instict leads to a feeling of remorse for wrongful behaviors and intentions. Nevertheless, people who technically speaking, have NO shame, fit the profile of a psychopath. I say technically in terms of if they were to be evaluated by a psychologist “psychosis” would be their prognosis. So to my knowledge, shame isn’t completely revolting, but toxic amounts can quickly twist into a tyrant that sneers at our sense of worth when shielded by self-righteousness.
The first people on earth were filled with shame. Adam and Eve became intimate with shame and a feeling of lack after they ate from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam forfeited his rights, committed high treason and handed the dominion of this world over to Satan through one small and seemingly harmless act of disobedience. He and Eve then entered into a realm of knowledge that was never created for them to truly comprehend. Far out of their league they felt exposed and insufficient for the very first time in their existence. They took on a new identity and left behind the identity God had originally created for them. Figuratively speaking, they felt “cut down to size,” for Satan had convinced them that the Author of Life had withheld something precious from them. Deception for Eve; outright disobedience for Adam. Shame laid its foundation, built its home, and commandeered the throne of their hearts.
[So God, the Author of Life, covered them with animal skins acquired through the shedding of blood… to cover their shame]
I mentioned earlier that toxic shame is extremely debilitating because it is an identity in and of itself. Toxic shame hinders us from walking in the light. It tells us to hide when we should boldly approach His throne of grace for help in a time of need. It tells us we aren’t holy or good enough; it cuts us down to the size the enemy wants us to be. This tidal wave of shame triggers a mass production of our own efforts to make ourselves look pretty and perfect before God, rather than acknowledging how Jesus made us perfect so we can stand in the Father’s glory and receive His perfect love. This human effort is self-righteousness that only leads to death. And finally, the identity of toxic shame pairs our focus onto our old, sin nature rather than on our new creation nature in Jesus Christ.
Toxic shame goes when we stop trying to wear our own righteousness. Toxic shame dissipates when we believe that what Jesus did on the cross was enough to fix us and more. The Father receives us based on His Son’s righteousness that was freely bestowed on us. He welcomes us with joy as we come before Him for help without measure. He delights in us. He loves us the most no matter what! Remember, love is not necessarily approval. He can love us without having to approve of everything we do, i.e., when we sin.
I digress with a quote I love from Brene Brown:
“You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your own worthiness.”
Friend, Jesus has intricately woven Himself inside of your story, so own it! He owns you anyway. Don’t spend your life trying to hustle for your own worthiness when nothing you can do, no matter how beautiful it may seem, can make you worthy. Only Jesus makes you worthy; God never meant for you to make you worthy, it was never His design. Don’t live outside of your story. Don’t live in a realm you were never meant to comprehend. Live inside of your story and enjoy a beautiful life with God the Father delighting in you because…
“To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy,” Jude 1:24. He presents you with great joy and you can have great joy before Him!
Love you 🙂