I have spent a lot of my life living under the weight of my past and my failures.
Convinced I didn’t have anything to offer, and further justified in my mind when I would see others succeed and I did not.
My identity had become something that was defined by my success (or lack thereof), if I wasn’t invited to be a part of something I must not be worth it. I became more and more ashamed of who I was and certain that I had no value.
I can see today that it was a lie – but in the thick of it, it seemed like absolute truth.
Oh how we can be deceived. The Bible says in John 10:10 that the thief comes to kill and destroy but God has come to give us life and abundantly at that!
I have heard that verse hundreds of times over the course of my 41 years and it wasn’t until recently that I really understood its truth in my own life.
I have read a couple of books about shame in the past 6 months, most recently one called “Unashamed – Healing our brokenness and finding freedom from shame” by Heather Davis Nelson.
In it she describes shame as “the feeling that we have missed the mark according to our own standard or our perception of someone else’s standard for us. Shame keeps us from being honest about our struggles, sins and less than perfect moments. Fear of shame drives us to perfectionism in all areas of our lives, so that there would be no imperfection to be noticed and judged. Shame is what we heap on others when they fail us. Shame keeps us holding onto bitterness and refusing to forgive. We are impacted by the shame of sin committed against us, and this drives a wedge into our relationships.” p20
That feeling we have missed the mark….
The story of my life really, but I want freedom and I believe it is possible!
But it starts with an honest look at what has shaped me over the years. How I see people seeing me now. Why the opinions of others matter SO much and a look at who am I living my life for.
These aren’t easy questions to explore and honestly it has been a bit of a painful process.
But I believe that the heart work has been necessary to get to that place that I can be honest with others. The hope is that in doing so we can surround ourselves with a body of believers that encourages us in spite of our failures.
Heather says this…“Imagine a community where we are free to be known and seen for who we are on our best days and our worst days.” p83
If I want that community for myself I first need to be that kind of community to others. And I can use Christ as my example.
Finding my identity in the One who can fully restore me from all shame, all my sinful past, all my mistakes and hurts.
Heather said it beautifully here…“Rescue comes only through Jesus. Jesus took the shame of our shame-filled (and shame-fueled) performances and mis-placed blame, and bore it in His body and shed blood for us on the cross. He covered not only the guilt of our sin, but our shame of trying to cover up our sin. And the good news doesn’t stop there! We have Jesus’s righteous performance in place of our feeble half-hearted attempts.” p93
Jesus did it all.
And He did it EVEN THOUGH He knew what my sins would be. He loved me that much. And now because of this great sacrifice, my identity isn’t one of sin and shame but instead an identity filled with the goodness of who Christ is.
It’s pretty amazing really and I am so grateful for this gift of new life He has given me!
I don’t know about you, but trying to be something I am not is exhausting. I won’t ever get this life “right”, I can’t be perfect and when I try (and for all the wrong reasons) I will fail every time.
Instead I am finding peace and sanctuary in the knowledge of my new identity and claiming it with TRUTH from His word.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has done, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1
“I have been crucified with Christ and therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20-21
Take some time today to revel in those truths. If you have struggled with your identity, start praying about how God can open your eyes to your real identity through Him. Take a step of faith and start building community with someone you can trust, and start getting real. I think that as we do this and then also claim truth in our hearts from the scripture we will start walking in the freedom that God has intended for us all along!
Heather’s book is really good and explores areas of shame in our body image, our social interactions and our performance. What I loved most about the book was that it is filled with the truth and encouragement that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus. Not another self-help book but rather a hope-filled book that can help you identity shame and then break free from the chains it has on you!
I was sent a copy of Unashamed to review for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The wonderful people at #FlyBy have a copy of this book for me to giveaway to one of my readers!! If you would like a copy simply leave a comment below! I will pick a winner next Friday the 8th!
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”) Many thanks to Propeller Consultin, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
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