What good is being shame-free when I don't feel shame-free?
After my revelation of grace, I knew the truth. I knew scripture said I
was free of shame...that no accusation could stick...that even in the
midst of my failures, CHRIST in me was accepted, so I was accepted and
beloved and even the object of his great delight and affection. But how could I keep remembering that
when I exploded in anger, when I judged myself for my messy house, or
was sucked into a comparison cycle on Facebook? That was tricky.
But then God told me about my new shoes.
God mostly speaks to me in pictures and metaphors. He knows they stay
with me and it brings me such joy to unpack them and find surprising
layers of application. I sit with them for weeks or months and it seems
like everything gets filtered through my newest insight. So my shoes...
If you've been around little girls, you know sparkly shoes are always on
trend. No outfit is too casual, no activity too treacherous for sparkly Mary-janes. Ruby, is especially fond of said sparkles and seems to find a way to wear
them long after she's outgrown every other similarly sized shoe. She reaches for them them, even if they give her blisters and creases in her toes!
But in the spring of 2013, in the middle of a shame spiral, I pictured Ruby cramming her foot into those old shoes and envisioned my
own demeanor as I crouched down beside her to say, "Let me
take those, Honey. Those old shoes don't fit anymore. But these, they're new!
Here, take them! They fit! You can dance and play and be free! Give me
those old shoes and I'll toss 'em. They had their time, now it's time
for something new."
Isn't that like us? We love the
security of the familiar. Even when it doesn't fit anymore or even hurts
us every time we reach for it. Even broken patterns can feel deceptively comfortable. Anger, blame, martyrdom, control, self-comfort that justifies and leaves no room for self-reflection. The small measure of comfort we gain from these tools seems to outweigh the cost...but it doesn't really, does it?
Before becoming shame-free, I would have condemned myself for all the things I should have done, and yet again, I failed to do. Overwhelmed with a homeschool decision I should have faced head on, instead I binge-watched Netflix. I mismanaged my time and then lashed out at the girls for
being slow to get out the door. I didn't take care of myself and then
felt crappy and crabby and who was to blame? It was my own fault, right? All
my old tools led right into a shame cycle and I was defenseless against
the accusations leveled by the accuser. (My girl Christa zeros in on this cycle in this beautiful post.)
But what if our Father is crouched beside us in that moment. Not with judgement and exasperation, but with delight and affection and brand new shoes! "Sister, lay down that anger, you're flawed, and your kids are flawed and I put you together to teach and receive grace". "Sweetheart, they require more patience than you have because I have MORE I want to give to you! Come to me and receive. Put on these new shoes...the fruit of my Spirit dwelling in you." This is what God has been saying to me in the last few years. The truth is, He's been saying it all along, but finally
I'm hearing Him! Finally, I'm believing I can just set down the old shoes with
their shame and guilt over all my failures and imperfections and receive
my new shoes full of a thousand second chances, grace to cover my
inadequacies, and the truth that if Christ-in me is absolutely enough,
then I AM ENOUGH!!
And the most insanely amazing part is, every single day, I get to
choose! A hundred times a day I get to reach for my new shoes of
freedom, and permission and beloved-ness...and then when I forget and try
cram my foot back into perfectionism and striving for approval, I get
to hear him say, "Darling girl, let me have those old shoes. Here, take
these...Dance. Be goofy! Be bold! Be beautiful!"