Are you aching for a fresh start?
Spring is here. Sometimes I say it’s my favorite season, but usually it’s when those first shoots of green leaves start poking through and I can’t help myself. Truth is, I love all four seasons the way I love all four of my kids. Each one is different and unique with characteristics I adore.
Spring is the season of new beginnings. Everything’s a fresh, clean slate. The plants are new are bright and haven’t reached that pitiful state of sun-scorched, dehydrated August.
There is still hope.
The gardener in me does it every year. I get excited over new nursery plants and seedlings. I plant all these beautiful things and I forget about July coming, when it will take every ounce of energy I can muster to walk out into the 100+ heat and water all those tender babies every single day.
And how some of them, despite all the water and attention I give them, simply won’t survive the Texas heat.
Yet every spring my eyes pop when I see the pretty flowers, I get positively giddy scooping up the colors onto my cart, and every year I vow to do better. I decide this will be the year for hope.
But the heat always comes.
It’s like this ongoing battle with shame.
We’ve talked about shame before, how I’ve struggled with it my whole life. Maybe you have, too.
It makes me angry as heck that shame never gives up. Never gives us a break.
I get weary of hearing the lies of the inner gremlin. They tell me I’m not good enough, I’m a miserable failure, that I’ll never amount to anything.
They are lies and I know it deep in my soul. I stand firm against them and attempt to fight them with truth. But when I let my guard down, even for a moment, I default back to those lies. I let ’em seep in and contaminate me with shame.
The Accuser Likes his Job
I woke up from a dream a few weeks ago, a dream filled with all those lies. People were pointing fingers at me, accusing, blaming, condemning. It was a dreadful nightmare. When I woke there was a moment of clarity when I thought, “Satan just visited me in my dream.”
Did you know that “Satan” isn’t even a name? I learned from Jonathan Martin that “satan” is simply the Hebrew word for “accuser.” He’s an accuser by nature. So we’ve assigned “accuser” as his name. Accusing is his job. He’s good at it and he likes it.
He comes with finger pointed and twists truth into lies from the pit of hell. And then he convinces us that he’s right.
Every time we buy into shame, every time we utter the words of failure, that we are bad and don’t deserve any better, that we are flawed and unworthy of love or acceptance or appreciation, every single blasted time we do those things — we are siding with the accuser.
We are standing alongside him, like the faceless individuals in my dream, and we are pointing our fingers and crying, “YOU!!”
There’s an episode of the TV show Sherlock, entitled “The Abominable Bride.” The scene playing over and over throughout the episode is one of a bride, pale-faced and red-lipped, clearly out of her mind, pointing a gun and yelling, “YOU!”
That’s the image of the accuser, isn’t it? And when he points to us and says it–with the slightest hint of a question mark at the end, “You?”– we think maybe he just might be right.
He questioned Eve in the garden the same way, “Did God really say. . . ?” She fell for it. And far too often, so do we.
The Ugly Truth About Shame
If I could offer you one truth, dear readers, to tuck under your belt and keep close, it’s this: shame is always a lie.
Shame is always from the accuser. Shame is NEVER from God.
So if you’re beating yourself up for how you’ve blown it, it’s time to stop. Maybe you have messed up. Maybe you’ve failed. Maybe you added more pounds or more clutter or more of whatever tempts you than is good or healthy or right. Maybe you’ve made mistakes. In fact, I’m sure you have.
But mistakes are human.
They don’t make you subhuman. They don’t make you a failure. They don’t leave you without hope of redemption.
- There is no mistake you can make too big for God to heal.
- There is no pit you can fall into too deep for his arm to reach you.
- There is no distance too far for him to find you.
Jesus is as anti-shame as they come.
The accuser wants you to stay in that shame pit, to wallow there, to decide it’s home and there’s no point trying to get out.
Jesus wants to reach in and lift you out, set your feet on a rock and restore you.
All you need to do is look up and let him lift you. Will you start today?
So, now it’s your turn. Tell me what shame looks like in your life. What would it be like to completely rid yourself of shame, once and for all? What are the lies the accuser aims at you, and how can you combat them with truth?