life and faith

shame: recognising a painful soul burden we needn’t carry

Shame became my soul companion from childhood. It sat like a stone in my sad heart. I didn’t have words for it for years. It was like a bitter root on the tongue, making me numb, eating away at speech and causing me to hide away.

I sought refuge in many places: curling up small on chilly park benches, scrambling over precarious building sites, walking through woods, hiding in my bedroom and escaping into books.

Shame and fear get written on a child’s soul before they have the words to know what they are and how lifelong destructive they can be. I retreated into myself, chewed on my clothes, had an eating disorder and ate garden plants.

An inner longing rises up to be comforted and unconditionally loved, to have a home and family and experiences different to this. To be accepted just as we are. To not be hurt. To feel free to spread our wings.

We ache with the weight of unshed tears. We can remain silent and dry-eyed for years at things that touch others, who are bewildered because we don’t join in, and confused when a tiny spark makes us overreact to things.

“He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. All of that has gone forever.” – Revelation 21:4 TLB

Because we’ve experienced painful events that jump out at us at unexpected moments. We’ve had our fragile hearts broken and we don’t know how to fix them again. We swallow back the pain, repress, suppress and refuse to entertain the memories, even as they throb and pulse through our veins.

shame - broken hearts - pain quote (C) joylenton @wordsofjoy.me

We want to be held. Safely held. We want more than anything to be loved, accepted and understood. To know we are worthy and we belong. But we look in all the wrong places and we accept bad people and embraces because we don’t value ourselves at all.

We have bought into the lie that we’re just somebody’s plaything and not worth anything. Self-recrimination adds to our shame, as we descend down darker passageways of life that prove to be nothing but dead endings.

There are surprising glints of grace, breakthroughs of beauty in the mess but we never quite hold onto or believe that the good times, relationships or feelings will last. But one day it changes….one day we wake up to ourselves and how much we are in need of a Saviour.

“Instead of shame and dishonor, you shall have a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy.” – Isaiah 61:7 TLB

A light begins to penetrate within and we are irresistibly drawn to the only One who loves us completely and has a remedy for our shame, guilt and sin. God Himself sits beside us in the ashes of our brokenness. He doesn’t judge. He offers us His amazing grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.

shame - wake up to ourselves and our need of a Saviour - quote (C)joylenton @wordsofjoy.me

Shame has met its match. We are in the process of being made whole again in Christ. Though it might take time to fully see and accept who we really are in Him and to work through our woundedness and pain. We are adopted into God’s family. We can stand strong because He gives us grace to begin again.

My friend, God is calling you now. He stands ready to rescue us from any pit we might have fallen into. He adores you. You are precious and beautiful in His eyes.

“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us.” Ephesians 1:3 TLB

Your past is just the first step to a new beginning. A fresh start. A new heart. A life of peace, acceptance, belonging and joy awaits you and me. But we have to see our need. We must come to a place where nothing and no-one else can fully satisfy or help us.

We slowly open up the door of our hearts, and once it’s prised ajar it’s always enough for God to fill and flood with His love. For us to begin to trust. To release and breathe freely. Maybe for the first time in living memory. Never forget you are valuable and loved far more than you will ever know.

6 Comments

  1. Joyce Barrass 30th April 2018
    • Joy Lenton 30th April 2018
  2. Bettie G 30th April 2018
    • Joy Lenton 30th April 2018
  3. Trudy Den Hoed 30th April 2018
    • Joy Lenton 1st May 2018

Your words matter. I'd love to hear from you.

My Instagram life