In the book I am writing, the main character tells her friend, Stephen, about meeting the Jewel Maker. Their conversation tells us a lot about Stephen and about the Jewel Maker.
“Has He talked to you, too?”
“From time to time, yes. Like you, He speaks words of healing to me.”
“What does He tell you?”
Stephen’s face clouded. “That He loves me.”
“Why do you look so sad when you say it?”
“The shame I feel about not going after Jade covers me and makes it hard for me to really believe His words, even when I know they are true. His words seem to roll off, instead of reaching my heart. I am uneasy in His presence. I am nervous, although He is only ever kind and loving.” – Angkura: The Fight for Hope
Although my story is fiction, shame is real. Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging. (Brene Brown)
And thought the majority of us never talk about it, we’ve felt the blush of shame running over us. We’ve had times when we couldn’t even look ourselves in the eye in the mirror, much less open ourselves up to get close to others.
Shame is a fungus. It flourishes in the dark, covering us with its lies. Shame separates us from God by convincing us that that though God’s love is real, it is not meant for us. Shame works overtime to make sure we feel alone, and that we stay alone. Eventually it convinces us that we are alone.
Shame convinces us that we are the only ones who make mistakes, the only ones who numb emotional pain through food, sex, video games, or mindless TV shows. Or by staying too busy to think or to feel.
The numbing only works for so long. We feel horrible about our actions, and resolve to not give in next time. But shame dives in and convinces us that we are worthless and stupid to think we could ever change.
The longer we are quiet about our shame, the stronger its voice grows.
Lets turn on the light and look at truth.
What does God say to us? He says I love you.
He says it through His Word, He says it by providing a way for us to know Him, He says it through the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. He can even say it through the smile of a stranger.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you… Isaiah 43: 1-4
God says I have called you by name. You are mine precious, loved.
Shame pours over us, like a relentless waterfall, seeking to wash the truth away. But even if just a smidge of truth gets in, hold on to it.Truth is worth fighting for.
In these beginning days of October, we’ve seen that God’s love is lavish and extravagant. His love never ends, and His compassion toward us is as abundant as His love. And now, today’s beautiful truth – Nothing can separate us from His love. Nothing – not even the darkness within us. God’s love is real even when we don’t really feel it.
In the warmth of His marvelous light we find life.