Empathy is the Anecdote to Shame
Hi, my name is Blake and I struggle with shame.
Shame. It is a dark shadow that blinds us from seeing the light, the truth, the Son. I have a party-lover-turned-Jesus-lover testimony that I share often with others. I celebrate how Jesus has redeemed me from hook-ups, blackouts, and one too many bad text messages that I’ve regretted sending. Jesus beautifully freed me from the shackles of shame of my sinful past.
A lesser-known part of my story is anything but rebellious. Ironically, my struggle can be applauded by the world: I was an approval addict. There is and was a really “good girl” in me who craves people’s praise. Running hard after perfection, approval was the goal and yet my striving never got me to the “finish line.” The perfect weight didn’t do the trick, I could never get good enough grades, and I wasn’t ever a part of the “in” crowd. I lived for people’s approval and when I didn’t get it… I felt shame.
I hate to admit it that people pleasing is still a struggle for me. Shame can weigh heavy on my shoulders after someone corrects me or when I’ve disappointed someone I admire. Shame knocks at my door when I sinfully compare myself to other women or when I fail to meet my standard of perfection. I share this struggle from a place of knowing that I am the Beloved of God, but not yet fully grasping in my heart the truth of that statement. I must remind myself on a daily basis that I am not defined by people’s opinions but by Jesus’ perfection. Daily I must choose to believe that when He says I am forgiven - I am!
There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus—Romans 8:1.
When my heart comprehends that I am not condemned, I can freely come out of hiding. Yet, hiding comes naturally for me because I have done it for so long. Just because hiding has been my M.O. in the past, by God’s grace I trust this will not be my destiny. Jesus is transforming all of us for His glory and I know the Holy Spirit is bringing my shame into the light to set me free.
Satan loves to make me feel like I am the only one who struggles with shame and hiding. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will always provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” I wish that there were an easy step-by-step process to no longer dealing with shame, but I’ve come to realize that freedom comes from walking daily with Jesus.
- Daily I must look to Him for my identity.
- Daily I must trust His word to define me.
- Daily I must walk in relationship with the One who calls me Beloved.
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