When Shame Keeps Us Away
“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)
The frustrated sigh that escaped my lips when I saw her name pop up on my Caller ID surprised me. It was a sigh soon followed by feelings of guilt, as I chose to walk away from my ringing phone instead of answer it.
I felt even worse when I checked my messages and heard my sweet 83-year-old neighbor’s voice confirming the reason she had called. It was just as I had suspected: She wanted to invite me to pick blueberries from the bushes in her backyard.
I know. Who gets exasperated over being invited to pick blueberries?
Her invitation was no surprise. For close to 10 years now, she has welcomed my family into her yard and let us gather as many blueberries as our plastic containers could hold. And each year, we have gladly braved muggy mornings and pesky bugs to fill our bowls to the brim with berries that far outshine anything we could purchase at a grocery store.
But for some reason, her invite last summer left my heart feeling a bit off. It wasn’t until I humbly called her back to thank her for her invite and then walked the short distance to her yard that I realized what was wrong.
I felt guilty.
Her health had been deteriorating for quite some time. I tried to be a help at first — visiting her in the hospital, picking up groceries when she came back home, taking her the occasional meal. But the busyness of my own life soon led to longer and longer stretches between my offers of help. First days, then weeks, soon passed without me so much as calling.
So, when she called me after countless weeks of no communication to invite me to pick berries, shame promptly informed me I didn’t deserve the blessing she offered. Thankfully, wisdom stepped in and encouraged me to accept her grace-filled invitation.
I’ll admit, accepting her kindness was incredibly humbling. But it was also a sweet gift. Not just because of the blueberries, but because of the truth the Lord opened my eyes to see as I plunked berry after ripe berry into my bowl.
God daily invites us to come and sit with Him in His Word. To feast on all of the truth and hope He has waiting on us.
But there are days I let guilt talk me into turning Him down. Days when I allow shame to convince me that I don’t have the right to even show up.
Maybe you’re familiar with some of these thoughts:
It’s been so long since I’ve sat down with my Bible. God’s probably too disappointed in me to talk to me.
I haven’t been serving God in any big or impressive ways. How can I ask Him to do anything for me?
I can’t remember the last time I prayed for more than a few hurried minutes. Who am I to ask God to speak to me?
How these thoughts must break the Father’s heart!
Just like my neighbor never expected me to “earn” the right to pick blueberries, God isn’t keeping a spiritual scorecard to see when we deserve the right to sit in His presence and feast on His Word. His invitation has nothing to do with our performance and everything to do with His desire to fill us with His wisdom, His hope, His encouragement and His love.
My heart is overwhelmed by the hope God holds out to us in our key verse: “The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning,” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
How incredible! The Lord’s love for us and His mercy toward us are unending. And He extends a fresh, grace-filled invitation for us to draw close to Him each and every morning. Not with a look of disappointment because we didn’t show up yesterday or the day before. No. His eyes are brimming with hope that we’ll accept His invitation afresh today.
Oh, friends. Let’s not allow shame to keep us from His goodness another single day.
Lord, thank You for continually inviting me close. Today, I’m pressing past shame and asking You to help me taste the sweetness of Your Word and Your presence like never before. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Revelation 3:20,“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Has anything been keeping you from spending time in God’s Word recently? Humbly bring those reasons to the Lord, and then accept His invitation to sit down with Him once again.
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