Day Two: An Identity of Shame
You can read about my story in Overcomer, but as a young teenager, I began to take up residence in a shame identity of my own. I was generally happy. But there was an inner emotional shift that had taken place, and at such a young age, I was unable to name it or protect myself from it.
As I look back now, I liken that shift to the difference between a holding a cherished photograph of a loved one and being with that person in the flesh. Photographs capture emotion, evoking a smile, a laugh, a poignant memory. But, nothing can compare to the sensory experience of hearing a loved one’s voice, wrapping your arms around them, inhaling their scent, and seeing their laugh lines. Photographs are beautiful, but they are always only facsimiles of the real thing. Shame held out its hand to me that day on the bus, and I allowed it to drag me into a darkroom and develop me into the 2-D version of myself—still smiling, but a replica of the original.
I imagine you have known, at some point in your life, what it is to feel unworthy or disqualified, what is means to feel like a 2D version of yourself. You’ve probably shed secret tears behind locked doors. You may have painful memories or emotions of your own. You may have allowed yourself to disappear a little bit. I’m willing to bet the little girl inside needs to learn how to believe she can overcome her shame.
If the Shame Identity is a house, then the Overcoming Shame Identity is a stronger house built on truth. It is an identity whose foundation is beautifully described by the psalmist: “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame” (Psalm 34:5).
What a beautiful contrast to the dark covering of shame! The promise of Scripture is that when we look to Jesus, our shame is transformed into sparkling, beaming joy.
Think back over the last few days. What kinds of things–big or small- triggered shame in you?
God, please open my heart to experience your love and mercy, and forgive me when I allow shame to keep me focused on myself. Help me receive whatever it is you want to teach me. In the name that is able to remove my shame—the name of Jesus. Amen.
(Sections taken from Overcomer by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2015. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.)