That statement used to echo often in my mind, after I considered my behavior in a situation, that does not reflect a “well-behaved young lady”. Growing up, when people came to learn that I was the oldest child in my family, there was this invisible pressure to always do and be good because my siblings were looking up to me and I was going to be responsible for any misbehavior they displayed. I was taught that your value was based on what people perceived to be right or wrong behavior. I struggled immensely with people-pleasing, due this belief. Can you imagine being chastised for every misbehavior, though sometimes, you did not know any better? What was so disheartening about it was that the expression of shame was followed by verbal abuse, coming from church people. You would think that they would understand how the grace of God operated in their lives and allow it to inform how they expressed grace towards others and their shortcomings. Unfortunately, since that was the only way I was exposed to in “helping” someone become a better person, I became that kind of person. I was more vocal about the wrong someone was doing versus encouraging and speaking more on the good, which accurately reflected on how I treated myself.
Self-shame can show up as one or more of the following characteristics:
Lack of boundaries
Self-hate wrapped in “Humility”
As I was completing a self-evaluation of myself, on the way I describe who I am to others, I realized things that I was proud of being — a perfectionist, “Yes-man”, and always available — were attributes that stemmed from desiring the approval of people. In all truthfulness, behind closed doors, being all those things and often more, led me to a place where joy did not exist, which had began to plant seeds of resentment and hate in my heart towards others. I was miserable. Mentally, I was void of energy to really enjoy a moment because I was swarming in thoughts of “what if” statements that people could be thinking about me. At the end of my day, I was mentally and physically drained. Can you imagine such a life for 15+ years? That’s one of the adverse effects of holding on to something that God sent His Son Jesus to die for. Why do we subject ourselves to such a miserable state of mind and to people who have an expiration date? Not to sound harsh, but in general, anything with an expiration date should not dictate who you are. If it doesn’t come from God, it does not have place in me.
Anything with an expiration date should not dictate who you are
Can I pull you aside for a moment? Contrary to worldly beliefs, you are not your mistakes. When God created you, he had Grace in place for those mistakes. He doesn’t see you for your mistakes, but for the promise and perfect plans He has for you. He purchased you at a price (1 Corinthians 7:23). From the beginning of time, when He created man (Adam & Eve), He validated them. That same thought extends to you today. He loves you so much that He sent His perfect Son to die an unmerited death for our imperfections. (Romans 5:8) With the validation of God, why do you need to supplement His opinion with someone’s opinion of you?
Today, I affirm these truths about you:
You are Loved.
You are Valuable.
You are His Precious Jewel.
His thoughts of you supersede any thought that you could think of yourself (Isaiah 55:8)
You have Purpose.
You are NOT your mistakes.
You are a Good Thing.
NOTHING can separate you from the Love of God. (Romans 8:38-39)
LITERALLY, NOTHING can separate you from the love of God. Even when we fall short again, His love remains the same towards us (REAL UNCONDITIONAL LOVE). I recently came to this revelation a few years ago that no matter what my past looked like, I could still be used by God. It was difficult letting go of that belief, that shame, because it was being watered for years by people I looked up to. I finally broke away from the source of that hurt and sought God’s face pertaining to what He believed about me. This is the ugly reality of healing. It hurts, it’s difficult to grasp, change is constantly happening, but it’s necessary. Peace is your portion, not mental anxiety.
There is no blueprint to beginning the healing process and I’m not going to say that what I did will be effective for you. My process is constantly evolving. What’s most important is that you are moving forward and your perspective of yourself is becoming more like Christ. The way I started developing a healthier sense of identity was: 1) Reading the Word of God for myself. There is a whole new revelation that comes forth when you go straight to the Source. In reading the Word, I learned that I had to repent for every thought that was contrary to God’s beliefs of me , 2) Seeking wise counsel that I have never considered tapping into to encourage this new journey I are embarking on, which looked like seeking out a God-fearing Woman or Man of God at my church assembly, a Therapist and a trusted Friend who has experienced going through a similar situation and has effectively dealt with it and last 3) Taking deliberate steps to remind myself of who and whose I am, whether through writing down affirmations or speaking positively to myself in the mirror. Do what you have to do to take back your God-given identity.
That shame from your miscarriage, failed marriage, premarital sex, not choosing the “right” career and everything in between, let it go! Invite Him in to those broken spaces and allow Him to mend them. That shame was pinned on the cross over 2,000 years ago. Leave it there!
A new beginning awaits. Are you willing to let go of the past and make room for the truth?
Until next time,
Peace out Gem ✌🏾