Do you ever feel defective? Does it seem that everyone else in the whole world has their act together much better then you? Do you ever feel like hiding things about your life? Things that feel shameful, out of balance or broken. As I finish my time of studying French here in France, I frequently get this feeling of shame about my ability to speak French. (In fact, I don’t want to say out loud how many months I have been studying French…9+ months REALLY?!?!) Yesterday at a church potluck, I had a few interesting conversations in French, but at other times when I was hearing the French conversation I felt completely lost about what the French speaker was saying.
I also recall the joy of speaking to Pastor David, Pastor Isaac and Benjamin Mukendi for the very first time in French a month ago during my visit to DRC. Yet, this seems inadequate compared to where I feel I should be or the level I think people might expect me to be. Let me go a little further. This sense of being defective or the weight of shame comes in other areas of my life as well. Have I really been a good enough Dad or husband? Am I a competent, capable, missionary doctor or teacher? What about my quiet time with God?Now that I am standing here with an exposed soul what do I do? I am defective and ashamed, so is there any hope or comfort? .
A quote from a blog I recently read says it best. “Perhaps the most damaging thing shame does is lead us into idolatry. Because to get away from it, to escape its vicious voice, we look for man’s approval. I’ve done it. I’ve craved acceptance. I’ve performed and people-pleased and I’ve told you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. Like Eve (and Adam), I’ve tried to run and hide, covering myself with the leaves of performance and appearances instead of coming out in the open and letting God see me exposed and laid bare for what I am. I’ve lived in hiding. Shamed.””Shame lies. It tells you to avoid exposure at all costs. But God says no exposed, raw, laid -bare soul who runs to Him will ever be put to shame (Romans 10:11).”
God’s answer to this shame is the ending of all condemnation through Jesus described in Romans 8:1-2 “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” – The Message
1 Timothy 6:17 says something like this: Warn everyone to quit being so full of themselves and stop putting their trust and hope in anything besides God. Shame and guilt drive us away from trusting in God, his love and his plan for our lives. We easily become obsessed with things, activities or people we hope give relief. These only gives temporary relief from shame and guilt.
God says “My grace is scandalously enough” that each time I give into the fear, shame, hopelessness and idolatry “Jesus says, “Go and sin no more,” He is not saying it as false hope. He is summoning my heart, and yours: “Go and live my life! In Me, through Me, and because of Me. And every time you get caught in the act of _________________ (add your secret, shameful sin in a whisper) I will forgive you before you ask, defend you with your accusers and encounter you again with joy.” ” (quote from this blog) .
The most normal thing in life *should be* to trust and have faith in the only one in the universe that has never lied. But I find it much easier to trust and have faith in what I feel, in my intellectual ability to figure things out, in my own opinion about how to live life or in the opinions of people around us. So, I have a choice, I can live a life of pretending to be good and hiding my shame or dive headlong into the endless, free, scandalous Grace. Surrendering to a God who delights in showing us the way to live a life filled with joy and true fulfillment. .
In faith, join me and other believers as we dive into God’s endless, free, scandalous grace. All we have to lose is fear and shame.