The other week I was talking to a friend, who, in an attempt to lovingly confront me, ended up hurting my feelings. That was not her intention, but I took her words and ran with them. I couldn’t fall asleep that night because I kept replaying our conversation over in my mind; reading into what she had said. I kept telling myself that she was right, that I was incapable of change, and that I’m always going to be seen in a certain light. Like everyone, I have a broken past, and the words this person spoke brought up emotions and memories tied to them. None of it was with ill intentions, but my mind twisted the conversation. And it had me thinking, “how could one comment trick me into believing that I am going to be stuck like this forever?” This person never said that I’m incapable of change, and she never said that I’m forever broken, but due to my own insecurities that is what I heard. And I spiraled. I cried in my car to a friend, explaining to her that I’m never going to change, that I’m messed up and broken, and that’s all I’m going to be. And as I was sitting there crying, I realized the shame in all of this. Shame from my past, shame from someone speaking into it, and shame from believing that it’s true. And once I realized that everything I’ve been telling myself was from a place of shame, I then realized that the Lord never speaks to us from a place of shame.
Shame can be a pretty intangible word, but I like the way Brené Brown defines it. She says shame is “the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.”
And when I compare the way shame speaks to me and how it makes me feel to the way the Lord speaks to me and how He makes me feel, I realize the lies within shame.
Shame tells me I’m incapable of change.
The Lord tells me, “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Shame tells me I’m unworthy of love.
The Lord tells me, “anything in all creation will not be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Shame tells me I’m weak.
The Lord tells me, “in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Shame tells me I will never amount to anything.
The Lord tells me, “we are [His] handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which [He] prepared in advance for us to do.”
Each of the shame sentences felt way more familiar than any of the truth that comes after it. And it isn’t because I don’t want to believe the things that the Lord says about me, it’s because I don’t know how to decipher who’s saying what. In order to know God’s voice I have to be familiar with Him and recently, I haven’t been. And out of all the shame that I’ve been experiencing, the fact that I can’t decipher which thoughts are lies and which are from God is by far the most shameful. I allowed myself to spiral because I couldn’t recognize that the things I was telling myself were lies.
The only way I’m ever going to stop believing the lies, is to know the One who is truth. And I can’t know God without spending time with Him. As badly as I want to believe what the Lord is saying about me, I have to be able to know what his voice sounds like.
So now, instead of letting myself slip into a fun little cycle of self deprecation, I’m choosing to hear God’s voice above the others. I’m choosing to think His thoughts above my own. I can spend all day telling myself I’m a mess-up or a mistake, but that’s never going to change things. When I can hear God saying “Cat, you messed up, but you are not a mess-up. You made mistakes, but you are not a mistake” that’s when I’m capable of change. Anything that isn’t coming from a place of love is not from God. God does not condemn, shame condemns. And the Lord says that I am free from all shame and condemnation.