In November 2015, I entered a rehab facility, full of shame about my not-so-secret-anymore addiction to alcohol. I had hit rock bottom.
Talk about feeling like being in the shadow of death! As a wife, mother, and pastor, I never would have imagined this disaster of a life. It was unbearable, and I felt hopeless, out of control, and overwhelmed in the mess I had created. The shame of it all felt like a life sentence with no way out.
Can you relate to a time in your life you felt this way? Have you ever felt so far gone that you questioned if God could really turn your mess around for good? (Romans 8:28) Have you ever felt like you were drowning in guilt and shame because of something you did, a failure, or something that happened to you that was out of your control and not even your fault?
We have probably all experienced the emotion of shame that tells us, I am bad, deeply flawed, broken beyond repair. I’ve come to realize there is a deep pain in our hearts that comes with shame. Shame is said to be the most powerful of all emotions because it is inward and attacks the essence of who we believe God created us to be. We were made in his image, so the enemy’s strategy is to attack our identity, distort the way we view ourselves, and prevent us from walking in the power and authority
we possess as God’s creation.
Have you ever looked at shame as an attack on who God created you to be?
A song that I love to worship to when attacks of shame come knocking on the door of my mind is “Edens” by Amanda Cook. The lyrics eloquently articulate the ebb and flow of shame and pain, while encouraging me that God is with me through the valleys of life. He is with me when shame tries to consume me. He is with me when I’m drowning in anxiety. He is there wiping my tears, reminding me of his great love and plan to redeem all I thought was wasted.
God wastes nothing! Where weeds have tried to choke out life, he creates NEW gardens. My friend, I’m celebrating over seven years of sobriety. God has healed my heart, my marriage and family and has truly created Edens out of the wasteland in my life. The beautiful thing about the redemptive power of Jesus is that he will do it for you as well.
Let’s not give shame the last word!
Let’s acknowledge what has held us back from being our best selves because we’ve hidden in shame. Let’s call it what it is and give it to God who so desperately wants to heal it.
He wants to do a new thing! Can’t you see it? (Isaiah 43:18-19). God wants to create new pathways in your mind and in the areas of your heart where nothing could grow in the past. Let’s get to work and do our part to work on tending to the garden of our heart. Let’s deal with our emotions before they deal with us.
Begin the daily practice of checking in with your heart through self-examination and asking God to reveal what he wants to heal. Get honest about how you are doing emotionally. Talk about what you are feeling with God, in prayer, and with other sisters around you.
I promise you, the work to learn to address the soil of our hearts is worth it. Shame loses its power when you speak and bring it out of hiding. You are stronger and more powerful than you think. I am praying and believing for you that God would create Edens in what you have previously seen as wasteland.
We are in this together. God will reframe our shame with purpose and redeem all we thought was lost. Are you ready to get to work so we can help God set others free? Let’s do this!