Shame has a way of convincing us that our baggage is ours to carry and that our problems are ours to fix.
The threshold for taking accountability for when you're in the wrong, in a situation you're embarrassed for, or just straight up ashamed to admit to is often an uncomfortable one to enter.
"I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed."
– Psalm 34:4-5
I’ve recently been in a situation that I so desperately needed people to talk to and get my feelings out in the open and off my chest. But I was just too uncomfortable (and in denial) about the whole situation happening, I felt it’d be easier keeping it to myself for 3 months.
Granted, I do believe that prayer is one of the most powerful tools of overcoming hardship. I also understand the importance of having a support system to hold you accountable and pray for you and pray over your life when you feel like you can’t. The enemy doesn't want that for us. If we let him, he lets lingering thoughts of shame consume us - keeping us from seeking support from God and our loved ones.
I’m learning I’m not as much of an open book as I once thought I was, there are still some things I am not ready to share or don’t feel like I need to share. This growing process is making me learn that I can attribute some (or all) of my timidity to feeling shame and guilt.
What makes these matters even more confusing is that there are different types of shame. It’s one thing to be embarrassed about sinning or doing something inherently wrong. But it's another thing when it’s literally not yours to be ashamed of - i.e., shame of a situation your family is experiencing. For some reason, those situations are harder to deal with. Shame doesn't differentiate between the two; regardless of the kind of shame you are experiencing - it is literally not yours. It's above me now, literally. We let shame and guilt over-occupy our thoughts, all the while God is challenging us to surrender to Him so we can experience the simplicity of letting go and letting God.
Experiencing the feeling of shame when we sin is often an inevitable and incapacitating response that urges us to hide from Him (as if we really could hide) for fear of His disappointment in us. Personally, shame is my biggest barrier from feeling qualified or worthy of a connection with God. It’s sort of instinctual when we try to hide, but we tend to run to false idols, things we don’t even recognize as idolization. I am a big fan of locking myself in my room and turning my phone on do not disturb. Some peoples’ “run-to” is solely focusing on their educational or professional grind, while others run to retail therapy. All in all, the things we run-to are temporary and unfulfilling distractions.
We overcome the power of shame by being confident in the belief that God’s promises are those of glory and fulfillment.Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the promise of fulfillment is on the other side of discouragement brought on by shame. We know that faith without work is dead, so just believing it will come to pass isn’t enough. We overcome the power of shame by running more into the refuge of His love rather than to temporary distractions.
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
– Hebrews 12:2