Salvation Story not Shame Story

I’ve been going through a stressful time. I’m in limbo land, which is my very least favorite place to be. I’d rather know either way about something. I let it affect my health. I clearly have not been trusting God as I should. Instead of drawing close to God once I recognized this, I went further the other way and went to my place of escape – books and eating. Why would I do that? After a couple weeks of this, today, I got fed up. Or maybe God just got on his mega phone and said, “Hello!” Either way, I decided to finally investigate why I do this. Why I hide from God when I get to a certain stress level.

One reason I discovered was I turned God into one more thing I have to do in a day to feel as though I’ve done enough – to feel as though I’m good enough. God is not a thing to cross off my to do list. God is not that monthly phone call I make to a relative that I don’t want to call, but know I must so I will be considered a good daughter, niece, or grandchild. God is in me. His throne room is a place of refuge that is only a thought or a thought of a thought away. When I think of God in us, the word tesseract comes to mind. I found this image online. I believe this is a good image of God in us and us in God. Tesseract image

Another reason that came to mind was there was something I was placing between myself and God. I asked what it was and the word shame come up once again. I asked myself what was my first shameful thought – something I had control over. A thought came to mind. I asked God to forgive me for what I did. I then had this picture of the deed going up in flames. I felt I was suppose to write down what I did and burn it. I did a poor job of burning it as I dropped it into a wet sink before it really burned, but I got the picture. I saw the ash. I watched the water wash over the ash. I watched the ash disintegrate before it even got to the drain.

The shame does not stand in the way of God and I. It no longer exists. I am clean. When and if the memory comes back, it is seen through the eyes of one who is forgiven. Like I did something wrong and was going to prison, only to have the judge set me free with the deed completely expunged from my record because someone else paid the price for me. It is something I can look back on and say, “Thank you God for taking the punishment on yourself and completely wiping the stain off me.” It is a memory of relief and thanksgiving.

My past is my salvation story not my shame story.

Forever Reign by Austin Stone


A Specter Called Shame.

Shame is the sensation a person receives when they do something wrong, like the morning after they’ve drank too much and realize they made a fool of themselves. As long as they recognize the shame, learn from it and use it to spur them into a better direction, such as not drinking too much, it can be a useful tool.

Shame is defined as:

“a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”

If shame, as a tool, could stay in its rightful place on the shelf until needed, it would be okay. But shame rarely stays in its proper place. It’s not shame’s fault. We as people take the tool down and misuse it.

I have done this frequently with my past mistakes. Every time a memory comes up where I acted foolishly or made a wrong choice, I feel the sting of shame creep up on my face. I push the memories back down and say it is covered by Jesus’ death on the cross. That is true, but because I push the memory away due to shame, I never learn what God wants me to learn from those memories. They can not be fully redeemed.

There is one shameful memory that keeps coming back to me over and over again. It is something I have never told anyone ever, not even my husband. This one memory has haunted me and fills me with shame every time it pops up.

The last few months I have been on this journey of not hiding from my feelings. I am on this journey of allowing my feelings to rise to the surface, exam them and then let them vaporize and blow away instead of stuffing them back down.(1) I was walking along the seawall one morning and this memory came to my mind once again. The familiar shame crept like a shade to the surface. I pushed it down as usual stating,

“I’ve been forgiven for this. I don’t have to think about it anymore.”

That is true, but it wasn’t allowing me to learn what I needed to learn from that mistake. It wasn’t allowing me to feel the feeling and let it go. I took the memory and asked God what he wanted me to see when I remembered it. What did he want me to feel? How did he feel when it happened and how does he feel now about it?

I put the memory in a glass box and examined it from all sides. I felt the shame still there, but not as strong. I began to look at the girl who made the poor choice. She was so young and desperate. She had all this hurt, which had not been dealt with. She was so strong for even functioning. Yes the girl, me, did make a mistake and it was my fault, but there were so many other circumstances surrounding that choice. I thought about if it were someone else’s life? What if I was reading a book, from birth until this poor choice. I would actually expect this choice of that person. It would not have come as a surprise and I would have wanted to hold that person, comfort them and tell them they were just looking for answers in the wrong place. Looking for something that only God can supply.

In doing this examination, I felt such sympathy for the young girl. I felt sympathy for me. The shame disappeared. Love filled the hole that shame left. I learned many more things from the examination. I’m no longer afraid of the memory.

It is no longer a specter lurking in the shadows.

I couldn’t think of a good song from this topic, but I like this song: Come Away From Jesus Culture



Getting past the victim’s heart

now I’m at the angry part

It was years ago, buried in the deep

It took a movie with a stupid ending

to pull away the wrapping and evaporate

The hurt, the pain, anger and shame