Shame attacks us all. It sneaks up on us and eats away at us. Sometimes, shame finds us through our mistakes, and other times, it finds its way into our hearts through our insecurities. We feel like nothing we do will ever be good enough. We push ourselves to be better, to please everyone around us, and hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations.
During my Spiritual Formation Group this morning, my group and I were reading through a chapter on learning how to love yourself when I realized how I have been unknowingly allowing myself to be affected by shame. I have always been a people pleaser. I have always felt like if someone were displeased with me, it was the end of the world until I could win that person’s approval back. I am also constantly telling myself that I don’t deserve the blessings that God has given me and that I need to earn His approval, acceptance, and love. I reflect this through my actions when I am unreasonably hard on myself, when I beg for outside affirmation, and when I find myself leading my life based on my works rather than my identity in Christ.
So, how do we deal with shame? We rest in the fact that Jesus has paid the price for us. We do not need to earn His love because it was freely given. No matter what we have done in the past, we are forgiven for our sins. When we allow ourselves to dwell in shame, we separate ourselves from the love of our Heavenly Father. Insecurity in our identity in Christ also leads to the temptation to compare ourselves to those around us. This not only damages our view of ourselves, but it also damages our view of those around us. We have each been hand crafted by God to serve a specific purpose and we cannot attempt to usurp one another’s purposes because we feel like ours isn’t good enough.