Brokenness. We all have it in our lives; that one, or multiple, moments that we remember and are filled with shame. The action, or inaction, we took that hurt another human being, inadvertantly or not. Remembering it can open the floodgates of our own remorse, shame, and guilt. these emotions grow as they whisper “you aren’t worthy.” We then begin a life lived with fear and anxiety. Outward we look perfect to the world, but inside we are brittle shattered glass waiting for the next impact to break us completely.
If you are battling this brokenness, you are not alone. I came to that realization, late last night, while speaking to a dear friend. In our conversation I realized I had allowed shame to take to large a role in my life. My circumstances are different than most, which has given me plenty of alone time with my shame monster. Last year I quit my job to move to East Texas. I have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to live with my parents and pursue writing my writing career. In turn I am also able to help take care of my 92-year-old grandmother. I have the capability to both have and be a blessing. Yet my goals have seen little progress as the emotions of unworthiness and shame have manifested into a need for perfectionism. A need that I cannot, and never will, live up.
Recognizing shame for the monster it is, is hard. I began to see it in my own life after reading Tracy Levinson’s book Unashamed . A lot of my brokenness comes from before I became a Christian. My shame stems from sexual relationships I knew weren’t right, even at the time. Instead of waiting for the right person, as I was raised to do, I succumbed to pressure over a need to be loved. That ach I felt was never eased in those two physical relationships. The hole in my soul could only be sealed by God, not a human surrogate. Although Tracy’s book, and her warm friendship after I contacted her (fan-girling about her written words) helped to diagnose my shame, it did not heal it.
Prayer can only do so much if we ourselves are unwilling to let go. Shame can grow so large that it can become our only focus, blocking out the voice of God in our lives, but God still has ways to get our attention. Last night He got mine through tge conversation I mentioned earlier. A conversation I would like you to be apart of, and hear.
The chat started about my friends impending move and went something like this:
Friend: I’m just tired of moving and everything. I want to be done. But I am scared to start over again because I want it to be fresh and I don’t want to run from my demons anymore.
Me: Well, the best way to stop running from your demons is turning around and facing them. Start a journal, or write on a piece of paper, every fear, worry and anxiety you have. Pray over each one asking God to change your heart about it. Then ask yourself why you have that fear, worry, or anxiety. After that ask yourself how you would be or act differently if you didn’t have that worry. Than strive to act like that person. I know it isn’t easy.
Friend: It means accepting my past, and I don’t want to, because it might mean that I am that person.
Here is where God really starts to speak!
Me: No! It means you WERE that person, but you have the power to change. You have to do it though; no one else can do it for you.
Friend: But I did bad things, awful things, things I still feel dirty over. I guess I do need to take it to God.
Me: Yes, but God makes you clean! Ask for forgiveness for your actions and accept that the old you did these things, but then forgive that other person. You are not her anymore! God has forgiven you. It is time to walk away from the old shell.
Each day we have is a new opportunity to do better, to love deeper, to act kinder. Just strive to do that and life will get better. No one is expecting you to be perfect, only God is perfect. It is time to learn from the mistakes of your past so that you do not repeat them in the future.
Do not chain yourself to your past, because if you do you are saying that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was for nothing! The amazing truth of all of this is that Jesus would have gone to the cross, spent three days in hell, and risen again to make all things clean even if you were the only person to ever live on this earth. Don’t chain yourself to the devil’s deception!
That, my friends, was God. God was speaking to you, as well as my friend, and I. Stop chaining yourself to the Devil’s deception! That is what shame is, a deceptive voice that wants to sour and destroy the relationship you have with your creator. Don’t let it win! Here is where I could say that it is going to be a long up hill battle to get rid of these fears and anxieties. emotions that I have harbored for more than ten years of my life, but I don’t feel that way at all. I prayed last night for God to change my heart and I believe He answered me as I gave advice to my friend. God has made us whole and clean! I think its time we stopped calling ourselves broken, don’t you?