Shame is a Burden We Don't Have to Carry

Jesus, The Cure To Our Shame

We all struggle with our secret shame. We know we are less than we should be.

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All human beings carry it wherever they travel and even when they sit: this black suitcase of shame.

I feel it weighing on me often, a heavy insufficiency.

Around noon on the day I am writing this, I stood in a long line snaking between black dividers and stuck my phone into my backpack.

And I stood there, in a crowd, yet alone.

Surveying the people around me and thinking, I wondered if anyone was surveying me. And I got a bit anxious. That silent companion slithered onto my shoulder: my shame. Shame always seems to come up when the noise dies down, when we are left to contemplate ourselves and to worry how others contemplate us (Which they actually do little of — we are far more concerned with ourselves than anyone else is.)

'Google' defines shame as a "painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior."

Our souls yearn back for the garden, for glory.

We know we are less than we should be.

Insufficiency is quite the burden to bear. 'If they only saw inside..' 'No one could fully know me and love me.'

And so the shame of sin and failure steadily fills our assigned suitcase, and we attempt to ignore it. Nobody can see our suitcase, normally, so no one mentions it. We wonder if others have them too. But we could never admit it first.

Guilt is one thing. Often guilt is a correct reaction.

But shame... constant shame is despair, a feeling of un-belonging and flimsy fraudulence. We feel we might be unmasked for what we are at any moment: weak.

But friend, in our greatest weaknesses and deepest shame, in the midnight of our days, there is One who cries with us, and yet is strong beyond measure, come to save us. He left high heavenly courts to be born on a musty straw floor. He refused to command angels to rescue Him as He was brutally nailed to a Roman cross. For our sakes, He humbled himself to reconcile our shamed selves back to the Father, taking the penalty upon Himself, He who knew no sin, who knew no shame. Jesus took on all the penalties for the sins at the twisting roots of our shame.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed." [1]

Healed. Set free. Jesus, wounded to heal us. How crazy. Crazy love. Love that you can barely believe.

So if you are weary and weighted down by your imperfect efforts to perform and achieve and be good (as I often am, when I forget to rest in Jesus), Jesus holds out a gift, a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light. [2] He knows we are weak. He made us and knows us better than we know ourselves.

Every sin we've committed, we've committed against Him.

We spit on the cross of Christ, profaning His death, when we choose rebellion.

The Wounded Healer died in our place, if we will surrender our lives to Him... Lives that were never really ours.

In Him, you are fully known and fully loved. Jesus will forgive you every sin and throw your shame suitcase out into the woods with a loud yell.

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." [3]

The King has come. Rejoice in Him and forget yourself. We must carry the suitcase no longer, but may be clothed in white, in the clothes of Christ. Buried with Him to be raised with Him, dying to self and self's shame to live to Him. [4]

Jesus, Jesus, how I love you. "Oh, for grace to trust you more."

Worthy is the Lamb. And now that we know the beauty of our Savior, how can we even steal a moment to stare inwardly any longer? The inner darkness and failure vanishes in a bright, hot light. In the pure Radiance of the Savior. Our shadows slip away as our faces reflect His light. We wade into the brilliance, leaving behind our every effort, good and bad, every filthy rag. [5]

He is worthy to be worshipped, to be glorified, to be looked upon now and into eternity.

Him, the Fairest of Ten Thousand.

"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are the answer. Before your face questions die away." [6]

Passages cited:

[1] 1 Peter 2:24

[2] Matthew 11:30

[3] Psalm 34:4-5

[4] Romans 6:4

[5] Isaiah 64:6

[6] C. S. Lewis, "Til We Have Faces"

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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I Prayed To God For Growth, And He Surrounded Me With Chaos — Which Is Exactly What I Needed

The chaos is what strengthened me.

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At the beginning of the year, I prayed to God and asked Him to make this year one of extreme growth for me. I wanted to be surrounded by peace and love, and I knew I couldn't do that without God's help.

Since then, I have truly learned how God actually works in our lives, because I began to find myself in some of the toughest situations of my life. It seemed like I was surrounded by complete chaos, but those situations truly did make me stronger in the end.

The truth is, God doesn't give us exactly what we ask for. That would be too easy. Instead, He surrounds us with situations that will allow us to seek out what we need on our own. He guides us and walks alongside us, but He can't do all of the work for us.

For example, if we are looking for patience, He won't just give it to us, He will put us in situations that will allow us to exercise patience on our own. Likewise, if we are looking for growth, he will put us in situations that will strengthen us. This way, we are active in our mission to find what we are looking for.

So, when I asked God for growth, my whole world seemed to collapse for a little while. He started to take away those people that would hinder my journey and began to surround me with new ones that would support and love me the way that I needed to be.

It was tough at first, but I can already say, only halfway through the year, that it's been worth it. All of my struggles and time spent questioning God have been exactly what He needed from me to help give me the strength I was in search of. It may have been tough, but I know that those experiences were exactly what I needed to grow.

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