Fasting from Shame (Day 7)
So let’s say that you have followed these devotions diligently each day and have recognized ways in which shame impacts your life. You also recognize how contrary shame is to the truth of God’s grace. So what now? How do you get rid of shame?
Well, you have already taken the first step – recognizing your shame and facing it. It’s also important to look at the sources of such shame. Did you experience childhood trauma or the lacking of a critical relationship such as a parent in your upbringing? Have you fallen into an addiction which you know is inconsistent with your faith? Have you experienced abuse as an adult in which you were demeaned and insulted consistently? Or have you undergone a long period of job loss, asking yourself “what’s wrong with me?”
Again, shame is not the same thing as guilt. Guilt deals with behaviors or actions we do, or fail to do, from which we can repent and seek a new direction. Shame runs far deeper, moving from “I did something bad” to “I am bad.” So the first step in dealing with shame is doing the hard emotional work of looking at its source, grieving what happened or what you missed, and accepting that that there is no re-set button for the past.
Left untended, shame thrives in secrecy, silence and judgement. It grows in the hidden recesses of our hearts and minds, dragging us down and leading to addiction, depression, and anxiety. It keeps us from living the abundant life God’s promised.
But through facing our shame, rather than numbing it, we can receive freedom. Bringing it into the light with the help of your spouse, pastor, counselor or trusted friend takes its power away.
- What events of your life have contributed to your sense of shame?
- What emotional work do you need to do in order to get past those events and relationships?
- How does the devil use places and times of shame to limit your personal ministry?
- How could God use your experiences of life (both good and bad) to shape you into an effective disciple of God’s love?
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Let us pray:
Lord God, no matter what has happened in my life, you have always been there; loving me, strengthening me, carrying me. Heal my heart from the pains of the past, fill my hurting places with your love, open my eyes to see myself as your beloved child. We pray in the name of the one who breaks the chains of bondage, Jesus Christ our Lord,
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