Shame is something I struggle with. This emotion is a complex mixture of past and present mistakes, perceived failures and reality that I have missed the mark. Despite the reassurance that we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), this lingering feeling can wash over me when I least expect it like a tidal wave threatening to drown me.
The most frustrating thing about shame is that I know in my head that I should not feel shame in who I am, or where I have been or in who I will become because Christ has died to set me free. On good days I rest in the truth that I am a new creation, and that Christ’s blood is more than enough for the likes of me, no matter how badly I screw up. But nevertheless, I still find myself keeping company with shame. Hand in hand, skipping like school girls, shame and condemnation embrace me. We sit around in a circle replaying and revisiting the lies. Condemnation spews venom into my heart until there is hardly an ounce of truth left. This nasty enemy befriends me while abusing me with the very things I despise. Condemnation keeps me looking backwards, wondering and wishing that I was someone different. Shame wraps its arms around me like an old familiar friend, promising not to leave.
The emotion of shame lies to me every time. It whispers that I am less than others and that God has lied to me when he says that I am an accepted, chosen, adopted and redeemed daughter of The Most High. It tries to persuade me that I deserve to be treated with disrespect and to remain in a state that demands I hide my face and divert my eyes from those who I have shamed. Shame tries to rob me of my identity in Christ tethering me to the old.
About a week ago, in the midst of worshiping my King, the world faded away and I found myself dancing with Him. As the words of a song rang from my mouth, I was far from the place I stood. There in the presence of the Lord, He showed me something.
He had dressed me in the most magnificent gown. The detail and the beauty of this dress go unmatched. The dress was white, billowing material with a full skirt surrounding me, fitting me like a glove. From head to toe, I was ready for what looked like a wedding. The tiny jewels on the dress glimmered in the light, reflecting Him. I was radiant, but something was wrong. I looked around me and grabbed from the ground a dirty dingy sack cloth. This cloth was filthy. Almost black with dirt and soot, stained and torn apart in places. The aroma coming from it was foul. It was worn with holes as if it had been chewed on by some animal. And I put it over my head covering the dress I was wearing. I then turned to Christ as if I had just placed a crown on my head.
In that moment He showed me that every time I cling to shame I am pulling on that sack cloth covering my true identity in Him. I continually place the grimy sack cloth over the gorgeous gown He made for me. In this sack cloth I am unable to see who I really am. I am blinded by my shame. Despite the fact that He tries to take it off me, as long as I put it back on nothing will change. I have to stop reaching for the sack cloth and slipping it on.
Upon seeing that vision my heart sank. I was choosing a ragged garment over the truth. I was settling and believing the lies and wearing them before my King when He has already dressed me in perfection. I felt more comfortable in the dirty, old rags then in the gown and beauty that He created me for. Shame and condemnation kept handing me the rags in hopes that I would never notice the dress I was wearing.
That is the danger of the enemy. He wants so desperately to convince us that we are not really something of great worth. The devil goes to great lengths to get us to forget who we really are and focus on the sack cloth and not on the beautiful women of God that we really are.
So today I am taking notice of the gown He has clothed me in. I am rejoicing in the work that He has done in me. I refuse to put on the garment of shame any longer. Shame is not a part of the glory that Christ has clothed me in. Let our eyes be open to the ways that He delights and rejoices in us. After all He is our Husband and He loves us so.
“As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5