Defying Shame

Those who look to Him are radiant; and their faces are never covered in shame.

                                           Psalm 34:5
 
Shame. It’s often described as a blanket. It kind of wraps around you. The devil fools you thinking it’s comfortable, it’s where you belong. 
 
We experience shame for any number of things. Our past haunts us, our marriages feel like they’re failing, we never measure up. Sometimes we put shame on ourselves. The guilt sits long enough and we don’t even notice it’s there. The devil tricks us into believing that it’s part of who we are, what we deserve. That it may be, what we deserve. But that’s not grace and it’s not the way we were intended to live.
 
Shame is all around us. It’s so much a part of our culture that we normalize it. We judge ourselves in accordance with what the person next to us is doing. We’re either “not as bad as all that” or “I’ll never measure up to that.” We turn on the tv and judge our bodies based on false images, and feel the shame creep in. We hide our whole selves, only letting pieces out, because we know that judgement eventually looms with each person we meet. 
 
Shame is worst when it comes from a brother. How often do we give someone the benefit of the doubt, or see the story behind the pain. People everywhere are afraid to walk into churches (including Jesus-loving, church girls…even pastor’s wives), because shame waits.
 
Half of it is a lie of the devil, and half of it is a lie of our culture. Church isn’t for looking a certain way or getting it together so we can meet with God. Church is for the abused and the abuser. Church is for the faith-filled and the faithless. Church is for the hurting and those who have hurt. 
 
It’s time to throw off the shame. It’s time to defy it. As a person, as a church, as a culture. 

As a woman, I have a battle with shame. I don’t feel beautiful enough, smart enough, good enough, or just plain enough. So, I get up each morning and defy shame. You are not a part of me, shame. You are not invited to this party. Christ promises me in John 8 and Romans 8 that he doesn’t condemn me and who else should? No one. I’m throwing off the blanket and letting my whole self out. I’ll mess up, as I have in the past. I’ll say words that should have been more careful, but relationships will be healed because I will be real. I’m not enough, but Christ in me is. 

He looks on me and I am radiant. He tells me I will never be in shame. I’m going to believe His promise.


* This is my good friend, Erin. Who lovingly reminds me everyday that shame has no place in my life. We all need an Erin.

 

The trouble with gossip

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:13  
            There is a dessert served in our area named the “sinfully delicious dessert.” I promise you, it is really delicious. It has crescent rolls involved, cream cheese, butter, cinnamon and sugar…need I say more. Yum! The name always took me aback, though. It always left me theologically contemplating over my dessert. Is it so fattening as to become sinful? Should I really eat something and enjoy it titled sinful? Why does its deliciousness exceed goodness so much that we deem it “sinful?” Tell me I’m not the only one who overthinks these things. Obviously, I eventually give up contemplation and dig into my dessert and enjoy the conversation around me.
            On the same note, one of my favorite nail polish brands is called Sinful Colors. I really like it, it lasts longer than regular store polish, it does have great color options available, but sinful? I don’t get it. What makes it sinful?
            Our culture is simply ok with sin. It’s normalized and even in the church we can become numb to the reality that sin is destructive and pervasive. It eats away not only at specific parts of our lives, but our hearts, and the space made by the Spirit for God to reside.
            I think gossip, is like my “sinfully delicious dessert” or my “sinful colors” nail polish. It’s the pretty sin. It’s just so stinking tempting. It makes me feel a little better. It may even bring me “friends” for a moment, willing to swap stories and share heartaches caused by others. I want people to desperately understand my struggle, but I need to be on guard that it doesn’t cause me to sin. Gossip is so tempting in the pastor’s wife world because we feel like we can’t be heard. Sometimes we just want to scream, “Is anyone listening? Did anyone notice I’m here?” and there are people who have wronged us. Most of us have had some kind of hurtful experience in the church, big or small.
            Ephesians 5:13 speaks to revealing sin for what it is. Sin, brought before God, i.e. “God this is so hard for me. This person really hurt me. I’m angry, I’m sad. I’m just so tired…” is now in the light. Exposed, it has no place in my heart, no power over my life. In fact, this verse tells us that the sin exposed is now a light itself, pointing others to mercy and grace. God promises to use our very struggle and turn it into ministry.
            Let’s paint on some new nail polish – “Colors of Amazing Grace”. May our lives and our speech be coated by Him. May my pretty little toes point to the change of Christ in me instead of being sinfully delicious in this world with enough sin already.