Shame is a taskmaster! Beating and berating you to the point of hiding. And when you hide, you rob the world of the beautiful treasure that is YOU!! This week is a realization that hiding is not an option anymore and we are deciding to come out into the open and be seen!
Disclaimer: This devotional is not a substitute or replacement for your regular therapy or mental health. If it causes flashbacks or distress, see a mental health professional right away. I am not licensed to counsel or give therapy of any kind nor is this devotional an attempt to do so. The contents and suggestions in this devotional are ones of personal experience of my own and are not meant to be professional advice or therapy.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
At peace again, at peace is where I am. I’m seeing that we are all so alike in so many ways. What blinded me before to think something was wrong with me? I have felt so wrong for so long. What in the world was that? Shame, self-aware or lack thereof. Like everyone else was right and I was wrong. I know you are healing that place in my soul where all that junk comes from. It has held me captive all my life. The degree of strength has varied but still, it’s been there wanting, taunting, driving, blinding me! But You, O Lord, in your perfection, in your wisdom, are pulling back the curtain to reveal… Me. I know it’s not about me per se, but you are making it about me, to me right now, because I’ve been lost for so long, hidden, invisible to myself. No wonder when I think about it, I have felt so like I don’t even know who I am, I don’t know what I want, what I like, what my passion or desires are because I haven’t been in touch with me. Wow crazy.
Hiding. What makes you hide? What makes you cover your beauty? What or who makes you show up for your life less than who you truly are? What or who do you give your power over to, in order to hide behind them and not be responsible for your own life or decisions?
These are not rhetorical questions. We truly need to answer each one! Put them in your journal and take some time to answer them this week. When I started answering these questions as the Lord was bringing them up, it was an eye-opening experience, to say the least, and actually very healing.
Before I understood that I was hiding, my life was in extreme pain. Every time I was around others, I felt “less than” them and inferior. It was truly almost physically painful and definitely emotionally crippling. I felt like no one saw me. The real me. But I was the one who was hiding. Shame was making me invisible when I craved connection and belonging. It’s very painful when you want to be known and yet you fear it. You want connection, but shame causes you to distance yourself for fear of being found out.
What if, you made the decision today to show up for your life. I mean, fully show up. Oh, it might take you some time to get there, but what would it look like for you to show up? In your job, in your relationships, in that situation you keep avoiding; in that conversation you are dreading?
So how do you come out of hiding? Well, this thought may help: when you hide you actually give power to shame. When we are abused or suffer some kind of injustice where someone else had power in a situation to harm us, we feel powerless. And when we are children, that is understandable. We were too small and weak to overcome. But as adults, this is not the case. Unless you are in a battering relationship currently and are being brutalized or fear for your life, you can take this step. But, if you ARE in a situation like that, I would suggest getting professional help before you take this step into freedom because you could put yourself in danger.
Taking back power over your own life, opinions and thoughts about yourself is not easy, and requires the grace of God. So your first step is to PRAY! Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and the insight to take the power out of the hands of shame or others and stand in it yourself. The following quote really spoke to me when I was recovering. I don’t know who is responsible for it:
There’s nothing to prove.
There’s nothing to protect.
There’s nothing for me to hide.
There’s nothing for me to defend.
If you stand and walk in these concepts you’ll stand in your confidence and own it.
Owning your life is a powerful understanding. When we realize that our life is our own. That it’s a beautiful gift from God that He means for us to stand in and steward, coming out of hiding takes on a whole different meaning. I’ve come to realize, the older I get, that a large portion of my life was given over to someone else to decide. And it makes me grieve and regret. Because there was something broken in my mind that believed that other people had the power to dictate my life and now I know that is not true.
But it’s a hard stronghold to break and that’s why it requires God! You have the power to govern your own life, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. When you give others the power to decide your life. Or fear or needing approval, guess what? You are actually worshipping those things instead of God. If God, Himself, is not going to infringe upon your free will, why would you give that power to others or to your past?
THIS IS HUGE!
So what will you take back today? If you’re not sure, it’s probably because you’ve given so much power to other things, that you have no clue what you think or value or believe so this exercise is really going to help you:
Take out your journal. Empty your mind of thinking of others, or your failings or anything else. Pray and ask the Lord to help you tap into who you are and who He made you to be. Tap into what you love. The places you love and that bring you joy. The things that make you feel alive and treasured. The people and memories that make you feel most like your true self.
The “Beautiful You” that lives inside.
Now…begin to write those down. Include all the things you like about yourself and be honest. No one is going to see this but you and God. There is no judgment now, you can say what you want. A lot of times we don’t give ourselves permission to be the awesome, gorgeous, hunk of woman God made us and now is the time!! Talk about yourself, your own body, your values, the things you truly think are pretty spectacular about YOU! And especially talk about how these things make you feel, without any filters…this exercise is about getting back in touch with God, you and your own heart.
In the midst, write down the things you don’t like, or don’t want in life….let me give you my example, this may help spark you:
I love the beach. The sound of the waves is so powerful and so calming. I love to be calm and peaceful not chaotic. I don’t like to be yelled at, it makes me feel bad, hurtful, shameful. I don’t trust mean people and I don’t like them. I love rainy days and snow. It makes things feel still and quiet and I like feeling still and quiet. I love spending time with my kids, it fills me up, it makes me happy. It makes me feel important and loved and treasured. I don’t want to be bullied or manipulated. I don’t like it. It hurts me………
I hope this gives you a starting point. There is no right or wrong in this exercise, just honest connection with your own heart. Trust me, when you get done w/ this exercise you will begin to feel the return of your own power and ownership of your life. Be sure to include the ways or thoughts of how you may have hurt or betrayed yourself, but don’t berate yourself, just be honest and move on. The intent is to get you connected, that’s all. Not to solve any problems, or analyze anything. But just to connect you.
I would love to hear how this exercise helped you, so make sure you email me or send a comment. 🙂
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
© Crisie Hutchings/ GrannyRocksMusic/ THE WORSHIP LIFE/ Beautiful You Project
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.