I struggle with shame. Just being honest here. We all have things from our life that we wish we could do over, right? (Please tell me I’m not the only one.)
It’s a late at night when I’m trying to sleep struggle. Or a dark and rainy day struggle. More recently, it’s a things are at a standstill in my life and I feel like I’ll never make it out of this waiting season kind of battle. It pops up in my mind more often than I’d like it to. It screams obscenities at me to remind me of how human I am. Some days it just won’t let up.
Why can’t I move past my shame? I ask God this question on a regular basis. This morning as I was in prayer, again pleading for relief, God directed me to the word DELIVER.
Deliver (verb)- to set free or liberate; emancipate, release, redeem, rescue
It occurred to me that I’ve been focusing on the wrong thing. I’ve been praying for God to take the memories away, to give me relief or alleviate the pain, but I have not actually recognized a vital truth: He has already delivered me from my shame. I just haven’t taken hold of it.
You see, I am not dealing with guilt from God’s pointing finger. He’s not mad at me. I’m forgiven and washed clean in the blood of Jesus. (Anyone else as thankful as I am about this?!) In case I ever forget that, I can go here for a reminder:
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions,
for My own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.” – Isaiah 43:25
No, I am dealing with my own finger crookedly pointing back at me. I am mad at me. I haven’t forgiven myself for my mistakes so, though I AM CLEAN, I sure as heck don’t feel like it.
Deliverance isn’t just one of those “christian-ese” words that t.v. preachers talk about. It is a very real and tangible truth that we have the opportunity to apply to our life. If only we will reach out and take it. I think, like myself, that many times we are so caught up in getting rid of the uncomfortable-ness of our past, the guilty feelings associated with certain people or places, that we neglect to look up and take hold of the freedom already available to us.
God says He is our Deliverer. I think of the Israelites that God delivered from their bondage to slavery in Egypt. He radically rescued them from their enemy, yet they forgot this fact as they wandered in the desert. They romanticized their past bondage to the point where they wanted to go back to Egypt instead of enjoy the security of the Promised Land just within their grasp. They had a shame-based mindset that was content to stick with the humiliation that comes with enslaved living because they didn’t FEEL like they were free.
Shame does that. It sneakily creeps up into our thoughts and says,
“Hey, remember when we were best buds that used to get in all kinds of
trouble fun together? Let’s do that again. Your present situation isn’t going to get any better anyways. Why not go back to the way things were?”
When we are in the wilderness and the promise of a better life feels so far away, we have a choice to make. We can look back at where we came from and decide that comfort and shame aren’t so bad. Atleast it’s familiar. Or we can look at how far we’ve come and decide that comfort feeds our shame and brings a restlessness for a life of regret.
I have to choose. My impatient and insecure feelings are valid. But my feelings can’t tell me what to do. That’s how I got mixed up in this shame game in the first place! I have to call on my Deliverer to fill me with an awareness that even though I don’t feel free, I am.
What about you? Is shame your struggle or is it fear, anxiety, lust, pride, etc… It doesn’t matter how big the struggle is, our God is bigger. Deliverance is available to us all. You just have to believe it!