When I was a teenager the rage in school was rubbing our initials into the back of our hands. We took a big eraser and rubbed away the top layer of skin, making our unique designs. Once the outer layer was gone, the inner layer, raw and exposed, revealed what had been rubbed in.
Life is like a big eraser. Things happen throughout the years etching messages into the layers of the mind. I don’t often know they are there until God shows up and touches a place in a way that only He can touch. I’ve come to recognize it as His invitation into my healing.
It was just a simple question David asked one day, yet it hit a place inside me like an arrow piercing straight into a bulls eye. “Have you dealt with the shame you felt when that happened?”
There was something about his question that was unnerving to me. I knew that until I chatted with God, the quivering in my heart would not go away. I began to ask Him what was going on inside me. Why the emotions, what was I feeling or hearing? He began to open my heart to see what had been etched into my mind. Within seconds the emotions flooded my soul as I realized....
I have been ashamed of who I am for as long as I can remember. For the majority of my life I have felt that who I am is peculiarly unfit. I’ve been embarrassed to be me. I have felt like too much and not enough all at the same time.
I have believed that people couldn’t handle the “real me”, weaknesses, strengths and all. Which led me to hide parts of me away while at the same time, trying to be more, make a name for myself, do some significant ministry. Maybe if I could play the part, be the woman, do the good stuff it would get me the acceptance I so desperately wanted.
Shame caused me to create my own self-story to cover the wretched feelings of how I perceived I was seen in the world around me. It led me to try harder, be better, do more. I hoped one day I could be that good girl that everyone would want and love. I put on masks and pretended that everything was okay while layers of shame covered me.
Shame blanketed my soul like grave clothes wrapped around a dead body. I did not feel the freedom to be me. I often felt misunderstood and held captive by the story of my past.
That question, that simple question opened my eyes to see. I had never dealt with the shame I felt about who I saw myself to be through the eyes of others. What I couldn’t understand then, I now get. The world and it’s people around me will never give me an accurate picture of who I am. It is God and God alone who reveals the hidden things in my heart.
Words of love flood into those places in me as He tells me there is nothing to be ashamed of. He has loved all of me since before the foundations of the world. He sees me as I am and loves me in my totality, strengths, weaknesses and all.
I am adored by Jesus, just as I am. Knowing this takes away the need for a significant self-story. It allows me to be in the moments with Him, allowing Him to show me what it looks like for He and I to live as one.
This beautiful dance with Jesus is setting me free. As I’m learning to rest in this amazing embrace something stunning is happening inside my soul. I’m settling in more deeply into my place. I’m finding that place where I’ve longed to be. I am no longer peculiarly unfit. I fit perfectly with Him. No longer do I need a ministry, to make a name for myself, to be famous or seen. I am finding that place of rest that comes from being adored by Him.
Grace has brought me a love that takes my breath away. It’s in this place, this beautiful place, He is removing my shame so that I might see we are woven together as one. Jesus in Julie. The glory of God and I are fused together showing up hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder as one. Who could be ashamed of that?
How about you? How do you see, You? Have you dealt with the shame you have felt?
©copyrighted: 2010 Julie L. Todd