DAY 1: The Struggle with Shame
Shame. That’s a word we’re all too familiar with.
I admit that I still struggle with shame. Shame from things that were done to me at an early age, shame from my sins of the past and present, shame from the things I didn’t do that I know I should have done. Shame is a powerful emotion. It has the power to strip us of all hope and make us believe that our sins are too great to be forgiven. It leaves us in great despair, wondering if God can ever use us again. It causes us to walk into a room and assume that everyone is talking about us. Shame causes us to be disgusted with ourselves, tempting us to forfeit our future.
I know this feeling all too well. I wish my slate was clean and I had no sin to regret, but that’s not the case for me.
For most of my life, I have found myself looking for solutions to cover the inner pain I was experiencing. Unfortunately, in my attempt to self-medicate, I made things worse and fed the monster I now call shame. Over time the monster grew bigger and stronger, and it became untamable. This monster controlled my emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Its power seemed to be unmatched, and I soon found myself surrendering to its call. Shame became like a best friend who shows up unexpectedly and never leaves. We became inseparable. This monster still wakes me up in the middle of the night to taunt me, and shows up from time to time to remind me that it will never leave me nor forsake me. It’s exhausting.
I'm not talking about the kind of a shame that makes you feel bad when you overeat or when you've binged on social media for hours. I am talking about the type of shame that paralyzes you. The kind of shame that reminds you over and over that you failed. Shame that has you running when no one is chasing.
It's related to a broken relationship. A divorce. A bad habit. A failed career or a sinful decision.
Shame has no mercy or grace for its victims. It finds the weak and wounded and attaches itself to us like a blood-sucking leech. It attaches itself to the barren woman who longs to have children, to the parent with a wayward child, to the person with the pornography addiction, and to the one with a painful past. Shame has no concern for the destruction it leaves behind.
Be encouraged, though! We can have freedom from the grip of shame. During this week, we’ll look at the story of David as an example of how to break free from shame through confession, repentance, and enjoying God’s forgiveness.