The Shadow of Shame

I was terrified. The weatherman continued to foster the terror in my heart. What was coming was unprecedented for this area. We cleared out the coat closet and prepared to get in. Grady grabbed some pillows to protect our heads from falling debris and a crowbar in case we had to dig ourselves out. I was shaking. I called Mom. “I’m afraid.” I told her. The lights blinked. The power failed and returned. The wind blew.

“Don’t let yourself be controlled by fear.” she said. “Don’t let it in.”

I stepped outside to look into the sky. Nothing. I climbed into the closet and prayed. I couldn’t just stay there. I couldn’t see what was going on. I walked out of the closet. I stepped back in. I walked back out and then I walked outside. I could hear the train just to our north. The sky was a crazy color. It was gone quickly. It completely missed our neighborhood. The threat was over but my heart still pounded and my legs felt weak.

Who was I to be afraid? I couldn’t be afraid! I wrote a book about walking through fear and here I was scared-REALLY SCARED!

I know the Lord gives rest to those whom He loves, so that night I slept soundly. I didn’t stir and didn’t even hear my husband leave for work. But when I opened the back door that morning to sit on the patio, drink my coffee, and read my Bible, a tiny bird flew in.

Immediately I propped the door open, giving him an opportunity to leave. I ran through the house closing all the doors so he could go no further. He sat on my front entry table hopping from one place to the other. As I closed the last interior door he rose and flew straight out the same door he had come in.

I sat outside, my journal open. “Lord, what is it you would like to show me through this?”

You may think it’s crazy for me to ask God a question like that; but I believe God can use the smallest of things to speak to us. He says if we call to Him He will answer us and tell us things we don’t know. (Jeremiah 33:3) He wants us to broaden our ear to listen for His voice. He actually wants to speak to us. It is often in a gentle whisper or may even be a bird flying through the door. We just have to be ready.

So, I opened my heart to hear. This is what His Spirit spoke to my heart:

The little bird is like the little things that don’t belong-a small blemish or shadow in our character or behavior. God says to close the door to those things. Sometimes, they may come into the outer rooms of our lives, but we must close the door to the deeper, more intimate places. Do not allow those things to have access to the whole of who you are. Visitors may come and go in your living areas, but unless you invite them in, they don’t just indiscriminately walk into your bedrooms. These areas are reserved for guests who are welcome and intend to stay a while. Furthermore, your personal bedroom is an intimate space. Typically no one enters except the ones who own that room. Anyone who enters these areas without permission is an intruder. They have no legal right to be there.

I am working day by day to be like Jesus and to bring honor and to the God I serve. I know God will be faithful to complete the work He began in me on the day I said yes to Him-the day I gave Him complete and total access to all the rooms of my house.. (Philippians 2:12-13)

So, though fear may enter my living room uninvited every so often, I choose to close the door to the deeper places in my life. Fear is not welcome. Anxiety is not welcome. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t show up. It just means I’ve learned how to recognize it when it does and have learned ways to deal with it.

When I recognize fear, anxiety, depression, or panic I will root myself in HIM. I will leave the door open for those unwelcome things to exit and close the doors to the most intimate places of my heart so they may not enter.

But, the enemy is crafty. He’s a slithery villain who will make every effort to worm his way into those deep places. If he cannot get in through fear, then he will use something else. Something like SHAME. He will say, “I thought you were stronger than that. Look at you. You caved at the first moment. Your legs are shaking! You are cowering in a closet. You haven’t walked out of the cage at all. I still have you.”

BUT he is the father of lies!

He got tossed out of heaven, while you and I have access to the Holy of Holies. Because of Jesus we can walk boldly into the throne room. In fact, the Bible tells us we are the temple of the Most High God. His Spirit lives INSIDE you and inside of me. Who is this usurper to heap shame upon my head? Who is he to heap shame upon yours?

Now, This is the Truth

According to Psalm 138 The name of the Lord and the Word of the Lord is above all things. His Word cancels all shame, fear, doubt, anxiety, unbelief, and refutes the lies of the enemy.

So, I choose to look forward. I will fasten my heart to the future and I will not live in the past. I hope you will join me in this endeavor. But we can’t depend on our own strength for this. We must run straight toward Jesus. He doesn’t look at me with shame. He doesn’t look at you with shame.

So, let me encourage you, if you are struggling with fear, anxiety, or depression, shame is not something to add to the list. Hold your head up and know that Jesus walks this journey with you. He wants to navigate this journey with you. He will show you which doors to close and which ones to open.

As for me, I refuse to allow the shadow of shame to darken my face. I will look to HIM and be radiant with joy. Every battle, rather won or lost, makes me a little bit wiser and a little bit stronger. I learn along the way.

We can use the Word of God, just like Jesus did, to send the enemy scattering about for another way in. When fear, shame, and anxiety make its way into the outer rooms of your house, here are a few scriptures which may help.

The Lord Yahweh empowers me, so I am not humiliated.
For that reason, with holy determination,
 I will do his will and not be ashamed.

(Isaiah 50:7 The Passion Translation)

So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.

(Romans 8:1 The Passion Translation)

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

(Psalm 34:5 New Living Translation)

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