I’ve let shame make too many decisions for me in my life.
For example, I have always been notorious for not sending out thank you cards. When it actually happens, I’m always late in getting it done.
Most of the time, I listen to Shame say, “It’s too late now. You’ll only embarrass yourself more if you send a card this long after the fact.”
And the sinking feeling in my chest overwhelms the desire to remedy something I don’t like about myself. I listen to the conversation in my head as I cower with flaming cheeks:No one can argue that it’s a shameful to not express gratitude. It’s insulting to everyone involved for you to act like it’s okay to send the card now. They’ll probably think you have a major heart issue when it comes to gratitude. In fact, you never did finish that written list of 1,000+ gifts God has given you. Never mind the conversations you have with God about what you’re grateful for. There’s no tangible proof that you’re a grateful person. You should be ashamed of yourself. (You are probably reading this thinking, “Whoa! Spiral much?” The answer is yes. Shame is a pro at that.)
So I concede and let shame define me. I don’t send out the cards. According to Shame, I am ungrateful and that’s just who I’m going to always be.
Except I’m not ungrateful.
I think of the people who have blessed my life nearly every day. I recall the little and big things others do for me to show their love and support, and I do my best to live it forward.
I am a daughter of the King who has flaws. One of which is being scatterbrained when it comes to sending mail.
There are many wise people who have expressed a truth that Shame has been pushing out of my head and heart for far too long.
I am what I believe I am.
If I believe I’m a hopeless, ungrateful mess, then I’ll become one. Nothing can change this weakness that I have until I’m ready to come to terms with the fact that my feelings are not always right.
I may feel ashamed. A mess. Hopeless. But choosing to live that way is a shame (pun intended) because I’m actually a new creation in Christ who gave me the incredible gift of grace.
True freedom comes when I begin to see myself the way that God sees me. You see, He washed away the mess that was me a long time ago with that grace. For some crazy reason, I choose to smear the filth back on myself and attempt to seal it on with shame.
Holding onto shame is pointless because Jesus bore my shame on the cross. It’s been washed away, and He doesn’t see it when He looks at me. I’m the only one who does.
Tonight I wrote some thank you cards. They are three months late. That voice in my head mocked me the whole time, but I realize now it’s just an untrustworthy noise. Shame’s opinion of me is not the one who counts. I’ve let it count for far too long, and as a result I’ve become crippled, but I will not stay that way.
I’m walking in freedom now, and I can’t bring the burden of shame along for the journey.