“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” Brene’Brown
SHAME IS A LIAR. Shame can take many forms, but its intent is to destroy. It can be the noose around your neck, robbing you of the precious breath of life while pulling you down dark paths. It can be the heaviness of years of pain that leaves you right where you are and unable to move forward. Shame is the blinders over our eyes, leaving us unable to see the truth. It is the truth that sets us free, and shame is the door of our prison.
I can still picture myself sitting in my forest green Sebring convertible the day I drove myself to a strip club for the first time. I was wearing a light pink T-shirt that had the words Abercrombie in red across the chest. I loved that shirt. I wore faded jeans and flip-flops. My hair is naturally curly, and that is how I wore it that day. I sat there for a long time, understanding that what I did next would change my life and not sure that I cared. As I turned off the ignition and opened the car door, the noose tightened and I allowed it to lead me into the darkness.
Is it surprising to know that I was covered in shame before I became a stripper? I must have been, right? A really broken and busted up women sat in that parking lot, and the woman who emerged three years later was unrecognizable.
I didn’t know what to do with the shame of my youth, so I buried it deep in my heart. It took root and, as I got older, it grew. The fruit was sin, more and more sin; and so, of course, there was more shame. There were times that I was walking in the light, and there were times of darkness, but with every step I allowed shame to be my guide.
Shame has whispered to me that I am nothing. It has screamed inside my head that I am the sum of all of my sins. It has driven me to places I never believed I could go and laughed at me as I did things I could never imagine doing. And do you know what shame’s biggest lie has been? Shame has reached up from the roots that have been buried down deep in my heart to try and make me believe that no matter what I do, no matter how much my life has changed, I am still not good enough. SHAME IS A LIAR.
I can’t look at my life through the lens of shame anymore. Someone else’s lenses don’t work either. If I look in the mirror wearing someone else’s glasses, the image is distorted. It is either too big, too blurry, too small, or I can’t see the truth at all. The only way, the only true way, to see myself is through the eyes of Jesus.
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.” Is. 54:4
I will no longer be afraid. I will no longer live in shame. Jesus sees me, and there is not disgrace upon me.
“Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Ps. 34:5
I looked to Jesus for help the day I walked out of that strip club. and He sees me as radiant with joy! The only shadow of shame to darken my face has been of my own making. There is no darkness in the presence of Jesus. This is the truth…for me, and for you. In Christ we are capable. In Christ we are made new. In Christ we are pure and blameless. Shame is the enemy and Jesus remains victorious over all of our enemies. Jesus shook the foundations of the prison I made for myself as He took His final breath on the cross, and I AM FREE. And so, my friend, are you.