Shame-Dropping, Part 1: Confession

Have you ever felt utterly ashamed of something you did or something that happened to you? Overwhelmed by that feeling of shame, did you cower a little and do everything you could to cover up what had happened? Did you hide?

Ugh. I do this all the time. I am easily ashamed. And I figure if I bury it deep enough, it will be like it never happened.

I recently had a beautiful morning with God (that involved me being up way earlier than I wanted to, but hey, these things never come easy) that lit up my heart. I asked God to explore the dark corners of my soul and pull out the things that I'd been hiding from other people and from Him.

He found my Box of Shame.

I don't know why I do it, but I stow away things in this box all the time. Things I'm too afraid to admit to myself that I did; things I'm determined to never let anyone know. The longer they have stayed hidden, the worse they seem to me; unforgivable actions that define me. I fear the judgement from others, my own conscience...and God.

Guilt and shame - they're not from God at all. I'm the one that buries all that crap in the dark. And I think the truth is that most of the time I don't believe that God is bigger than my problems or my sins. 

I say I do, and I mean well. But if I believed that my problems were insignificant in comparison with who God is, then would I really spend hours worrying over them? Crying about them? Stressing to the point of exhaustion? Would my sins make me cower in the dark if I truly believed that they had no power over me?

Maybe you need this reminder, too. This chance to see grace in a different way. Because here's the truth:

God is always bigger.

God is  a l w a y s  bigger.


It's one of those monolithic truths that is almost too big for us to handle. It seems too good to be true, so we write it on inspirational posters and are done with it, moving on to things that are easier to understand.

I'm here to tell you that God is bigger than anything you are ashamed about. And it's time we break the chains of shame that keep us from being honest with each other and ourselves.

Today I'm confessing to you some of the things I'm ashamed about. Things that make me feel weak, inadequate, ugly, unloved. And it is my own fault for letting them control my life this way. I want to take away the power they have over me.

As you read over these little confessions, think about your own Box of Shame. Why is it taking up space in your heart and in your life?

I have dandruff.
Gross, flaky skin cells hibernating on my scalp. Yep. It comes and goes like the freaking seasons and I hate it. It makes me feel ugly and dirty and like a woman-failure, because how good at life can I be if my hair is in this state?

My driving record is completely clean...but I've been in an accident. 
I'm proud of my driving record; it's squeaky-clean. But I have a secret. When I was fresh out of high school and driving my own little car, I stopped at a stoplight behind another car and got distracted. I was fiddling with the radio, checking my hair, whatever. I thought the light had turned green, tapped the gas a little, and rear-ended the car in front of me. I had an immediate reaction of fear and adrenaline and everything in me told me to run. I wanted to get out of that situation. The other driver and I ended up deciding that we could both drive off without reporting it because there was no damage to either car. But I couldn't bear to tell anyone that it had happened.

A few years later, a friend asked me to drive her car for her. All would have been well and good except that our path was blocked by a truck and I had to back down a hill and turn at the same time and I'm not so great at using my mirrors sometimes, so I backed right into the underbrush next to the road and got us stuck. The damage to the car was minimal, no one was hurt, etc. etc. but I was miserable. I couldn't get over the fact that I had let my friend down and worse, caused damage to something she owned. While, you know, making myself look like a complete idiot.

I have creepy dreams.
I'm a completely straight, married woman, but for some reason, Satan likes to send me random lesbian dreams. And not about strange lesbian women, either. I dream that I am a lesbian chick who likes girls. It's creepy and it leaves me feeling dirty and disoriented when I wake up. I also get dreams where a man is attacking me with the intent of rape. These make me feel ashamed, as if I've done something wrong, or my brain is messed up. But that's what Satan likes to do: make us feel dirty and unworthy of God's love. If you think of it, please help me pray away these unnecessary dreams.

Doubting and Worrying is my life.
Every day is a battle between choosing God's peace and joy vs. being controlled by little fears, worries, and doubts. I am constantly on the verge of quitting my day. Fear stops me from doing many things. Doubts keep me paralyzed enough that I don't do the things God asks of me. I worry about my baby, about our future, about finances, yada yada yada. That's why I wrote a post on carefree motherhood. I don't believe moms should be slaves to worry. It doesn't mean that I will ever "conquer" it; but it does mean that every day, I get to exercise God's power over it. Every day I get to come to Him to renew my peace about it. The choice has to be made again every time I come unglued.

I had sex before I was married.
Yep, that's right. I committed one of the "big" sins (isn't it silly how we think sin is big? Nuh-uh; God is big, and our sin is small). I liked having a "virgin card" to play whenever I screwed up in life. I would be like, "Yeah, I'm a sinner and I did that...but at least I'm still a virgin." I compared myself to other girls in my head and I was pretty self-righteous about it. So when I realized that I had lost my one and only bargaining chip with God, I crumpled up like a bag of flour. I know that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, I know that He forgives, and I know that I should never ever compare my sins with someone else's. I honestly had to re-learn my faith in God after this happened (I'm still working on it, actually). It sucked and it was my fault, but in the end it is bringing me closer to Him.

Even writing all this now, my face is burning and my fingers are hesitating and I am shrinking, just a little, from sharing these things with you. And I will tell you, it's easier to share these things via the internet than to speak them to a close friend in my living room. Why? Because I don't have to see your reactions. I don't have to try to tailor my own actions in order to receive the largest dose of understanding from you.

Let me see, I'll act devastated by my mistakes. Or perhaps I should laugh it off. Then they'll understand. Then they won't judge me.

But our mistakes are not made "okay" by other people's opinions of them. Our mistakes come under God's microscope. And do you know what He is saying?

"The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us." 
Psalm 103:8-12
Go and shed some light on your weaknesses and your mistakes and the things you wish weren't true about yourself. Share them with a close friend or just sit with God and open up to Him. Let Him take away all your shame and replace it with His never-ending love.

You are not the first person to know these things. I did share all of them with my husband first, because true confession and repentance is best done with someone else strong in the faith. By sharing these things, I am done with them. By handing them to God, I renounce all of my fear and shame connected to them. I hope that you can do the same.

<<< For further reading, check out 2 Corinthians 4 <<<

10 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! You are so right, God is always bigger!

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  2. Oh man, shame is a BIG one for me especially coming from an Asian culture where SHAME is thrown around so freely. I think it's really important to focus on moving forward.

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    1. Shame can spread quickly like a disease, so yes, tuning out its voice and moving forward is so important!

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  3. Thank you so much for being vulnerable. It is absolutely not easy to share the things that make us feel shame, but a huge thing is recognizing where those feelings come from (Satan) and then remembering that God is bigger and He is there to help you through it.

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    1. Yes! My hope is that it inspires others to be vulnerable enough to let go of their own areas of shame.

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  4. I often wonder why I have certain paranoid thoughts... about something bad happening to my son. Life without him... it's so heartbreaking but then I stop my thought and start praying because you are right... GOD IS BIGGER!

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    2. Yes, God is so much bigger than anything we go through or are afraid to go through! Let Him have the control.

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  5. I do things very similar mama! I find that when I finally do let the secret and shame out that I always feel better!

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    1. Right? It's easier to keep it inside, but so worth it to let it out (in a good way though, haha, not just venting).

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