Today, God told me we disarm shame by bringing it into the Light, let’s link arms and do this thing.
For a long time I’ve given shame a ton of power in my life. To be honest, a lot of my story is rooted in things I’m not proud of. I know a heck of a lot of darkness, and I was exposed to pain and fear at a really early age. Somewhere along the way, I picked up the lie that my past makes me dirty. Pile on a slightly devastating cycle of rejection, and I’ve got one heck of a story. Honestly, I’m pretty easily ashamed of what’s behind me and inside of me. Sometimes the shame makes me want to shut my heart down forever and never risk telling the story again. But I’m sharing this with you for a very deliberate reason. Anything in the dark stays dark. Once it’s exposed to the Light, it can’t help but be transformed. We disarm shame by bringing it into the Light. Everything that is illuminated becomes Light. (Ephesians 5:13).
I love the promise that anything entrusted to the Light will become Light. God’s got a knack for turning our stories into good and glory. He’ll do that with anything you’re brave enough to put into His hands. (Romans 8:28)
My experience of blinding darkness isn’t a stain on my life, it’s actually a testament to the lengths that Papa God will go to rescue His children. A string of brutal rejections doesn’t mean my identity is tarnished, it actually means I’m now able to relate to every other ragamuffin who feels the terror of risking vulnerability ever again. My track record with running to sin to find fulfillment doesn’t mean I am a failure, it’s giving God room for more grace and more redemption, which He is never in short supply of, no matter who you are.
Every little thing that I am ashamed of is actually just making more room for God to work, heal, redeem, and restore. I bet it’s the same with what you’re ashamed of, too.
God has created an unbelievable narrative for you and me. He’s constantly inviting us into a story that strips our shame away from us and renews our identities. When Jesus bore our sin, He was bearing our guilt and our shame too. Those things are in His jurisdiction now. The good news is that shame only has the power we give to it, and Jesus has given us permission to never, ever engage with those feelings again.
We’re free to be unashamed because He is unashamed of us. We’re free to be renewed because renewal is God’s intention. We’re free to love ourselves relentlessly because God loves us relentlessly. That feels like coming up for air to me.
God isn’t disappointed in your story. I’m afraid we’ve cultivated a rhetoric that is ashamed of sin. I’m afraid we’ve begun trying to solve darkness instead of heal it. If you’ve ever felt burdened by the expectation that you have to be perfect before God will love you, I’m so sorry. And I’m here to tell you that isn’t true. We can look into everything Jesus did and see one thing over and over again. God loves sinners. God loves people with stories that were built in the trenches. God loves messy, broken, embarrassing, failing, noisy people (we are all all of those things).
“Now: unlike ourselves, the Father of Jesus loves men and women, not for what He finds in them, but for what lies within Himself…He loves the loveless, the unloving, the unlovable…He acts, he doesn’t react. He initiates love. He is love without motive” -B. Manning
Even more, we’ve been invited to share an identity with Jesus. We were united with Him in His death, and we are united with Him in His resurrection. (Romans 6:5) Your life is at that level of value. It’s tied straight into the life of Jesus. You’re woven into a Family, a Kingdom, a Promise. It’s only just started getting good. To me, that’s a huge deal. Only a true Lover would give Himself to us the way Jesus has.
One more time with feeling. You’re free from shame. So am I. God’s hand in our lives is bigger and better than the lies of shame. If you’re in Jesus, you’re a whole, brand new, never-before-created person with an amazing story to tell! (2 Corinthians 5:17). You’re a part of Him. Disarm shame. Tell your story. And don’t forget to remember that Jesus is on your freaking team.