Friday, October 5, 2012

No More Shame

So last night, I hate to admit it, but I got sucked into Oprah's new show "Oprah's Life Class." I know there are a lot of thoughts about her... It was a weak moment. (And I may secretly love her.) My husband was upstairs. The kids were in bed. I had the tv to myself AND total silence.

But that's neither here nor there.

The topic of the show was guilt. Now guilt i can deal with... Most people can. But really what the show turned out to be about was shame.

Shame. I think that word is the single most threatening word, because it carries so much. It's so heavy. It brings up the dreaded past. It is like a shackle that hold us to things that have been wished away and yet, still remain ever so clear in memory.

Overtime, shame grows. It eats away at happiness and peace. It hangs over the present.

Shame says, "You deserve to feel this way and never forget."

There was a woman, on the show, who got into an accident with her kids in the car, while driving drunk. It was 3 years ago and the moment she started talking about it, she couldn't stop the tears. She had since gone to rehab and is sober. Her kids survived. Her marriage survived. But the shame was still there. She described her shame as saying, "If you stop feeling this way, then maybe you're not really sorry." 

Ugh... I then could not stop my own tears. They then went on to talk about how our shame robs us of so much throughout life! Shame keeps you from smiling, laughing or enjoying yourself. It holds you back. It keeps you isolated. It is restrictive.

For me, my struggle is with being a mother. To make a long story short... I went from being 18 and graduating high school in June. To September I was pregnant, living with my boyfriend and being an instant mother to his 2 children, ages 2 and 3, because their mother was never around.

In 4 months my life had gone from just beginning to feeling like it was over. It was a nightmare. A nightmare that I could not wake up from. I could barely cope. I was so miserable and unhappy. And I took my frustrations out on the kids. I was mean and rude. I was impatient.

I know now, that I was doing the best I could. I was postpartum. I was depressed. I was lonely. I was sleep deprived. And I was not relying on God for my strength. I have been forgiven by God and forgiven myself, but every once in a while the shame creeps back in. 

For instance, last night my kids were talking about memories from when they were little. And I wondered if they remember how mean I was? The shame.

We all carry around baggage... What have I caused my kids to one day carry around??? The shame.

Here's the thing... In Christ there is no shame. Guilt has a purpose. It is to bring us to repentance. Shame says, "I will never change." It keeps us from moving on. 

Guilt says I have done something wrong. Shame says I am something wrong!!! 

 ~ Isaiah 1:18 ~
"Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

My sin does not define me! It is not who I am. It is something I did. With the power of Christ my sins, mistakes and regrets can be changed, forgiven and forgotten! 

~ Psalm 103:8-13 ~
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

Christ has given us permission to move forward in Him. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for ALL of our sins. He has chosen to remove our sins and not treat us according to them. 

He hung on that cross and said "It is finished!" (John 19:30) It is no more. Satan and death have been defeated. And we can rest in the hope of Christ. We don't have to dwell on the past, but can live the life that He has planned for us. 

To live in your shame is to say that your sin is not covered by the cross!! Oh man that's good! Let's say that again... Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for every sin. Period! To believe that we can not move past our sin is to discount the power of the cross. It is to not fully trust the words of God in the Bible. 

Through the cross we have not just been forgiven, but we have been healed. And we have permission to live as such.  

The question now is will you give yourself permission???

I know for me, when my shame creeps up again I find myself not connecting with my children. Do I deserve to? Do I deserve to give them advice and guidance? I am the one that hurt them and now I want to help them? Do I deserve that relationship with them??? The truth is, I don't deserve any of that. I do deserve to sit and wallow and suffer from my sins. But through Christ I am given another chance. 

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