Get freedom from this dirty little "s" word.
Get Freedom from the dirty little “s” word for good!
Have you ever fake-smiled your way through a conversation to pretend like everything was okay?
Have you ever built a wall around yourself to pad the reality of what you deem disgraceful or shied away from certain hot topics with your family or friends because your seemingly picture perfect image might be at stake? Have you ever felt like your success comes to a screeching halt blanketed with some stupid blockage that keeps you from getting to the next level of achievement or are you simply suffocated by the silence that perpetuates real cycles of your unfulfilled dreams and/or potential? I know you must be asking by now, “Coach Kim what’s with all the questions?” Well, I hope I can help anyone who reads this to identify if this particular “S” word has given them a guilty conscience or affected advancement in any area of their life.
We are not bad or dirty but sometimes the choices we make or things that happen to us make us feel that way. I found myself feeling more than reprehensible after twenty years of marriage and six years of ministry I was a divorcee’ and to boot as a pastor’s wife. Because of this I bore the weight of guilt and disgrace that simply caused me to believe I was no longer good enough and too tired to do something about it. It didn’t help that some folks around me snubbed the first lady who lost it all; I felt harshly judged by the church community and even some friends. Then add my own issues; simply not feeling good about me anymore, unsure of my life’s direction, generational cycles I mean who was I now that life didn’t go as planned. Although the infidelity was not on my part I was still embarrassed because it was my marriage a marriage I truly cared about and loved and my family that was being torn to shreds openly.
I desperately did everything I knew to do keep it all together but my glue was just not sticking. Some days I had a hard time holding my head up. I felt stupid because I knew something was very wrong and being in shock I felt paralyzed by the unknown. People would offer advice, “have grace” and I was like, "There seriously needs to be some truth to go with that grace!" My marriage was open for all to see the dirty little secrets and that made me feel horrible. What did I do wrong, what did I do to deserve this, wasn’t I good enough; God I am not perfect but how did I end up here; these were the questions I asked myself over and over again. It seemed every time I turned a corner someone was telling me something new they'd heard about my situation, I was spiritually and emotionally worn out. My lowest point was being lied on and discredited for finally deciding to take my life back; talk about a spiral of shame.
Yes, the dirty little “S” word I speak of is shame.
Shame makes you hide. Shame makes you see yourself as a failure for something you’ve done or something that has been done to you. Shame is a dismantling of your confidence before God, yourself and others. Shame will make you dumb yourself down which makes it hard to thrive in relationships because the real you can never emerge. Walking with shame will give you what I call fig-leaf freedom. That is what looks free on the outside but in need of deliverance on the inside. Fig-leaf freedom can last for a while but opportunity for you to embrace truth will keep surfacing so you can embrace your truth. I use that reference because it’s what Adam and Even did in the Garden of Eden after being called out by God as to why they were no longer covered with his presence but with a make-shift sacrifice; fig leaves. Fig leaf freedom stems from believing internal lies that you and/or what God has blessed you with is not enough so then you put yourself in position to be deceived. When we fig leaf there is always an attractive temptation to believe some ideal situation or someone else is better so we fall down in our souls because we feel no one has a situation as bad as ours. As well, we have a tendency to dress ourselves with our mistakes and shame is a byproduct of that apparel. When I was in the throes of my situation I felt so ashamed of my life and ministry all I wanted to do was go into a cave and cover my head. This was more than a blush of shame that comes when you do something like get angry in traffic this was more like red in the face, tears in yours eyes and pray no one sees you ever type of shame! I desperately needed God to roll away my reproach (Joshua 5:9) so I could see and receive His promises again.
I finally stood up to the challenge to accept my identity in Christ again as a masterpiece, allowed the love and grace of God to begin healing my hurting heart and walk in my God-value again. Sometimes I felt like my life was in chains but I knew the Word of God could never be chained so that is where I started. It was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done but it was most worth the effort to renew my mind to gain a fresh start and get back to me.
So what do we do? We start by defining shame and then dismantling shame to live free. To be ashamed is to be embarrassed or guilty because of one's actions, characteristics, or associations. I will take it a step further one of the Greek definitions for this word is fitting disgrace; properly meaning disgraced like someone “singled out” because they misplaced their confidence, support or believed the “big lie”. The definition goes even deeper by stating this type of "dishonor" refers to being disgraced, bringing on "fitting" shame that matches the error of wrongly identifying (aligning) with something Wow! Did you read that? When we are in shame it is like a fitted garment we choose to wear because we believe our wrong or our life deserves a fit-for-us level of condemnation so we punish ourselves by tearing our confidence down, hiding and forfeiting our freedom. I laid my confidence down little by little in my marriage, career and ministry and picked up a story that I was defective, dumbed down and not enough. I was aligning with the accuser of my soul by walking in shame, he would whisper shame on you why didn’t you look better, cook better, be a better first lady or a better mother. I needed a Jacob experience (Genesis 32:22), I needed an encounter with God, and I needed God’s grace for my disgrace. Thank heaven he was available to speak to my accuser who kept saying “shame on her” but my Intercessor and Elder Brother Jesus Christ would say, “No shame off her, I already paid the price!”
My friend where did you leave your confidence? Was it in that first embarrassing sexual encounter that happened because you were looking for intimacy not sex, you were looking for your father’s/mother's affirmation and embrace? Was your confidence left with that young man or woman you kept sleeping with to find love? Were you secretly jealous of others but refused to mine out your own purpose? Did you leave it at the job you go to daily that grinds your gears and gnaws your dreams away? Did you leave it at church when you got hurt and left? Did you believe the big lie that him hitting you was okay as long as no one saw the bruises? Did you believe the story that your idea wasn’t good enough so you procrastinated so you wouldn’t have to open your business? Did you leave it at the abortion clinic or adoption agency? Did you leave it in the divorce court? Did you believe the story that it was okay to lose your very own value, vision for life and authentic voice?
Well, where ever you chucked your confidence let me tell you Jesus Christ paid the price for you to pick it back up again, it’s time for you to be restored and get your reward (Hebrews 10:35). One of the most important things you can know about the anatomy of shame is that it erodes your confidence before God. The way to get rid of that is to repent and forgive yourself/others and you will hear Jesus say those wonderful words He said in John 8, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” In order to truly heal you will absolutely need to come boldly to the throne of grace to get help in the time of need. When you find it hard to go forward claim this promise for yourself, “For the Lord God helps Me; therefore have I not been ashamed or confounded. Therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. Don’t allow vain imaginations make you live as though you are a second class citizen when you are truly a kingdom citizen. You know you are healing from shame when you stop looking for ways to blame yourself or others but learn from the experience and extract the power from your pain.
I wrote in my book, ‘On the brink of a breakthrough’ shame comes when we get overly acquainted with our mistakes and poor choices instead of our God-consciousness and true freedom. I found it interesting that the etymology of the word free means “not in bondage, exempt from, acting of one’s own will, noble, joyful and my personal favorite beloved, not in bondage. So how do we get out of this cycle of shame, confusion and frustration of feeling like we are not enough or dirty and accept our freedom?
Pray and admit the things you are ashamed of and be honest you cannot conquer what you won’t confront. ” God wants your conscience free and because you are in Christ it is your portion. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Christ’s sacrifice transforms our lives and makes us clean on the inside; I would say that is good news!
Forgive yourself! It’s easier said than done but at the end of the day chooses you over shame. Forgive others as to release them from holding any power over your new start. (Mark 11:25)
Accept that you can learn from the negative experiences you have encountered but you are not those experiences. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Realize that God is waiting to set you free so speak up and ask God to set you free from shame (John 8:36).
Repent from sin and don’t repeat it; ask God for forgiveness he promises to forgive and cleanse you (1 John 1:9). Once you repent God doesn’t remember your sin anymore (Hebrews 10:17).
Decide that you want your freedom more than you want to keep rehearsing the past. This is a big step but as you reveal you will heal and gain your personal power back. Stop thinking about your failures and set your thoughts higher truth.
Accept your freedom and be grateful for your new freedom (Luke 17:11).
Get counsel or coaching there is safety in a multitude of counsel (Proverbs 11:14).
Rehearse verses like the one below in your hearing until you believe them.
"Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs" (Isaiah 61:7 The Amplified Bible).
Once you get a taste of freedom you will not want to go back to being blanketed by shame again. The fresh wind of wonder that blows across your soul when finally let go and let God is like watching a rose that blooms out of concrete, or watching an eagle soar or the refresh of the front porch while watching the night sky. Breathe deep and take that in! Please realize that by sharing your truth( in a safe environment/in a safe way) shame must exit your story which makes room for your gifts to flow freely and I believe the attraction of what truly belongs to you. Take your power back by declaring “I am enough!” and stop asking “Am I enough?” You are more than enough; you are made in God’s image and likeness and that makes you a creative genius who brings order to this thing we call life. You are forgiven and free to say goodbye to your past, be present in the moment and envision your future. You’ve got to know that breakthrough is your portion and it comes when you decide it’s time for a paradigm shift from shame!
Breakthrough comes when we are courageous enough to believe that our story matters no matter how messy. The Holy Spirit will be right there to guide you from the wilderness to new ways of freedom. Leave the shame and receive a double portion of honor (Isaiah 61:7). This fresh start belongs to you. Embrace the great that God put in you to do good works. God your Father wants the best for you so that gives you the right to want the best for yourself. I hope this blog is your bridge to breakthrough, I pray you decide; like I did to shed any shame you are carrying and understand that you were created to live an abundant life that expresses the glory of God through you. You are more than enough for this fresh start, you are valuable and Jesus believes you deserve to live free of shame. Understand that there is a path to freedom but you must be willing to don that path by faith and move forward from the shadows of your past. I encourage you to share the pieces of your story that will empower you and serve others so you can walk in liberty and prosperity. I declare and decree, “Your season of shame has ended” let the curtain close on this scene of shame and watch God to open new doors in your life!