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 thoughts on “shame: recognising a painful soul burden we needn’t carry”

    1. Dear Joyce, it’s a joy to see you here again, my friend! I do hope and pray you are doing as well as possible. Thank you so much for leaving such a sweet, encouraging comment! I really appreciate you taking the time and trouble to respond to this post, especially as I often feel a bit raw and vulnerable when God asks me to share about my past. Blessings, love and hugs to you! xoxo <3

  1. Dear Joy,
    I am so grateful for your beautiful prayer. I left a comment over at Beloved Prodigal also, but wanted to say something here too because your words are such a blessing. I pray that the Lord is so close to you today, as you have opened your heart so tenderly to share with us all. Your words brought such an encouragement to my heart today. Much love and hugs to you my dear friend! xoxo

    1. Dear Bettie, how lovely of you to leave a comment here too! I’m so thankful to have blessed you today. God knows just when a word will have an impact, doesn’t He? This has been a very tiring day but also uplifting in lots of ways. And I think my soul has grown calmer from the beautiful reactions to this rather vulnerable post. Much love and hugs gratefully returned to you, dear friend! xoxo 💜

  2. Thank you for writing so vulnerably what many feel, Joy. I know these posts are hard, but they are so needed for hurting ones to remember they’re not alone. This paragraph was especially a comforting reminder to 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.” Thank you. Sometimes the process can get so wearisome, but God is faithful and He has and will always have the ultimate victory over shame. Love and hugs to you!

    1. Dear Trudy, yes these posts are hard to write about and share but also somehow cathartic to release a bit more of the tenacious grip which guilt and shame have on us. The key thing is to be able to offer others a “you, too?” moment of recognition and an awareness of help and hope on the horizon. I’m so pleased you had a positive takeaway from these words! I agree with how very wearisome the recovery and healing process can be, but we always have hope of seeing change and having our mindset renewed by God’s grace. Praise God for His endless mercy and faithfulness! Oh yes, yes, yes: “He has and will always have the ultimate victory over shame”! Well said, my friend. Love and (victory) hugs (high 5’s?) to you too! xo 😊💜

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