Several years ago I was asked to be the guest speaker at a women’s group. I was so excited for the opportunity, and I felt honored to be given the chance to share my testimony with them. I personally knew a few of these women, so they were already familiar with my testimony.
The group organizer called me a few days before I was to speak and told me that after thinking about it more, it wouldn’t be a good time for my testimony, and she asked me not to come. A few days later I ran into some women from the group, and I found out that the organizer had said she asked me not to come because my testimony would be “too much” for them. My heart sank to the ground, and I felt something else that took me days to identify…
That old almost too-familiar feeling of shame from my past came creeping back. I thought I was over it all, until I was told that my testimony was “too much” for these women to hear. What does “too much” mean? I spent years keeping my past to myself, because I was afraid that people would reject me, not feel comfortable around me anymore, etc. Being told that my testimony would be “too much” (especially when I know many of these women) brought back all of those fears again.
Isaiah 50:7 says, “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame”.
When I was preparing to speak, I was not planning on going into all of the specifics that I have on this blog, because some of the women in that group are not even Christians. I spent so much time preparing what I thought God wanted me to say, though, and I felt so disappointed to be told that she changed her mind. This was someone who knows me, also, so that made it sting even more.
Shame is something that we were never intended to carry once we make ourselves right with God. Sometimes we carry shame around for mistakes we made in our past, other times we carry it for things that have happened to us against our will. Either way, God does not want us to hold onto it, because it is extremely toxic.
Are you carrying around shame from your past?
Often, even our own loved ones remind us of our past, as if we are still supposed to be living in shame over what we did. This is not how Jesus wants us to live. Jesus has commanded us to not carry shame from our past. If you have asked Him to forgive you and turned back to Him, you are to let go of all of your shame. If you have felt shame due to something that has happened against your will, release it to Jesus, and ask Him to heal you in this area. Ask Him to show you how He sees you, instead of how you have seen yourself.
“Come, let’s talk this over!” says the Lord; “no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! If you only let me help you…” (Isaiah 1:18-19)
In a way, I am grateful now that this situation happened, because it exposed another layer of shame in my heart that I didn’t realize was there. Thank you, Jesus, for how You work in our lives. Even though it was such a disappointing situation for me, on many levels, I can see how He is working it out for good.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose”.
I am so grateful for how You see us, Jesus. It’s so often not the way we see ourselves. Please forgive us for holding onto toxic shame and give us a revelation of how You truly see us, which is all that really matters. Thank you, Jesus!