Shame, guilt, and embarrassment have one thing in common. We all try to avoid them like they are a plague that will wipe all humanity off the earth. We also go to great lengths to make sure no one ever hears of the thing we did, what we said or didn’t say. Shame, guilt, and embarrassment keep us from having a life lived to the fullest. I know that in my life they have kept me from living to the fullest. I recently found a picture of myself and in the photograph I was wearing white shorts. Until I saw the picture I hadn’t remembered these particular shorts but, when I saw the picture I was amazed. White clothes and I have never gotten along. I like white. I would like to wear white but, without fail, the minute I put anything white on I become a magnet for dirt. Especially after becoming a parent white did not seem like a wise choice for me to wear. As I looked at myself in the picture, smiling from ear to ear, wearing white shorts I began thinking how shame, guilt, and embarrassment can be worn the same way.
There was a time in my life when I wanted to hide every hideous hurt in my life. I didn’t want to look at them anymore. I have worked hard most of my life to have people like me. I have never seen myself as smart and that plagued me with shame and embarrassment. I have friends who love to play cards but, because I am horrible at math I always turned down the chance. My brain just can’t add numbers that quickly, it becomes math dyslexia, and I shut down. I found shame in that also because I wasn’t being honest with my friends nor was I being honest with myself. I felt shame at being the only girl guys wouldn’t look at and I could never figure out why. I walked around wondering what was wrong with me, shame. I felt like dirt on those clean white shorts and I certainly could not wear anything like that. So, like the picture, I would wear a smile, hiding the junk and muck of my life. If I smiled, if I tried to be joyful no one would know the hurt and crud that had become my name. I had allowed the crap to dictate how I was sure others would see me.
After completing Phase 1 and 2 of the Ultimate Journey, I see myself wearing the white shorts and I want to go back in time and high five myself! I want to sit down and have a beer with myself and say, “self, you’ve got this, Christ in you has what it takes, you’re going to be just fine.” I wish I could also tell myself to wear those white shorts with confidence that it doesn’t matter if I get dirt on them. It’s why they created bleach and it’s why Christ died on the cross! I now wear white and no matter what I do or don’t do, nothing is going to change the whiteness! Dirt cannot get on it. Christ will not let that happen! I am free to wear white. I am free to smile and truly have joy in my heart as I wear white clothes and as the blood of the lamb makes me white as snow!
I look at shame now and it angers me. It angers me because so many of us are walking around burying our shame, our guilt, our embarrassment. It makes me angry that we walk around waiting for a world to judge us and we know they will. One cannot make a decision without someone having an opinion of how I am going to hell, going to die, or something horrific is going to happen. One way or the other judgement will happen. I have been and continue to do the same, yup, I’m human too. So I fall in the category too. I am working on it though. I so want my thought process to see the masterpiece God created in them instead of seeing the junk and stuff I, as a human, don’t like.
No longer. No longer will I walk around afraid to share the times I stumble, the times I’m not perfect. I wish we could all just admit that we are all screwed up and let the Lord work in our lives. You know the only time I am not depressed, downtrodden, guilt laden, or unable to love is when I am not abiding with Christ. The only time joy abounds in my life is when I have laid everything down in my life and have been willing to follow Christ. It has been painful at times, it has been down right unpleasant at times as I learn to let go of this earth more and more. I have always felt a longing, a pull towards heaven, I’ve always known I don’t belong on this earth. I belong on the perfect earth that God will create. A earth where shame, guilt, and embarrassment cannot be, they would be the dirt on the white shorts and God cannot have that. I am so glad God cannot have them, I do not want my “dirty white shorts” in heaven!
I pray you will bring your shame, your guilt, your tears, your holes to the master healer. Let him garden you, let him clean you from the inside out. He is the joy giver. Life has a way of poking holes in our heart and sometimes the pain gets so bad we stuff it down never to look at it again. It’s too painful and I know from experience the fear of not wanting to feel the pain, because I thought if I did the tears would NEVER EVER end. I thought the pain would get deeper and I wasn’t sure I could physically live through the emotional pain. I wasn’t sure true whole healing would ever come. I am joyful to tell you, true healing on earth is possible. If you would have told me this months ago I would have laughed at you. I would have rolled my eyes. I still have days when the world weighs so heavily on me, the waves are too big, and all I can see are the waves. It becomes almost impossible to see my Savior and there are still times in the waves that I wonder if following the Savior is worth it. Yes, a hundred times yes, it is completely worth it! Because, God the Father, my Abba is always, yes always faithful to come get me. He picks me up, dusts me off, and tells me of his love and now I believe him! I know he will come get me. Having an abiding relationship means that he is not far from me, he hears my hearts cry. As a watchful, vigilant parent he knows when I am in pain. I do not have to say a word, he knows, he cares, he sees me.
I am not my shame, I am not my guilt, I do not need to be embarrassed! The next time you see me I just may be in white shorts! Don’t mind the dirt, life is often messy, and it’s a sure sign Abba is working in my life!