The Secret to Overcoming Shame

Does your heart ever flutter and sink at the same moment?

When I receive a genuine compliment, all too often that’s the response I have. My soul leaps for joy from their love, but a small voice tries to suppress it and tell me I’m not worthy of such high remarks.

“You are a good and faithful servant!” one of my dearest friends, a godly woman I look up to, told me as I shared my mission trip photos.

If she only knew of all the struggles I’ve gone through before and after that picture was taken.

There seemed to be more days than not that I would beat myself up for not putting Christ first and others above me.

Surely she would take back that compliment if she knew how little I was getting into the word that week.

Crushing Shame with Confession

A few days passed since I tucked that little piece of shame into my heart, and I found myself in a Vietnamese restaurant with two sweet sisters. It wasn’t long until our lighthearted conversation matured into honest confessions. We all had pieces of life that were difficult to navigate, but I had great admiration for their trust in God above all else.

But she shook her head. That’s not always the case she admitted.

Her words set me back. I didn’t see her doubts, I only saw faith.

I didn’t see brokenness, I only redemption.

There were no traces of pride, I only saw humility.

I didn’t see worry, I only saw glory.

But her confession gave me hope – I wasn’t alone. I have a closet full of small struggles and big sin, and they constantly like to point out that I’m not a very good disciple.

But the thing is when we keep that dirty laundry tucked away, it starts to reek. It doesn’t matter how pretty you fold it up or how much Febreze you spray, it’s bound to happen and it’s going to contaminate the rest of your clothes.

That’s what set my friend apart; she was quick to admit to her shortcomings yet is completely covered by the grace of God through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.

Instead of hiding under a facade of perfection she reminded me that anything good in her was Christ alone.

Who Is this Faithful Servant?

Every disciple longs to hear God speak the words of the master from the parable in Matthew 25:23, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (ESV)

We see that the servant was given two talents and multiplied them by the deadline, but we didn’t see the struggles he faced between the time he was handed the originals and turned in the total.

We don’t know what kind of trials he faced, or the doubt he encountered along the way when he risked it all and almost lost everything.

In a two-dimensional society where the norm is to only share our successes and hide our failures, let’s instead mimic James 5:16. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (ESV).

I couldn’t see the faults in my friend in that little Vietnamese restaurant, I only saw her in Christ. Her repentance kept her in the faith, and encouraged me that I’m not alone in my imperfection.

Hope Despite Our Weakness

Maybe your soul can relate. Maybe you struggle with feeling worthy of hearing “well done, good and faithful servant.” Maybe you don’t see your faith as strong and unwavering. But I encourage you to fill those little gaps in your heart with these three truths today:

  •  If you have repented and put your faith in Jesus, you are far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.(Psalm 103:12, ESV)
  • You are a new creation.Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.(2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)
  • You are righteous not because of what you’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done for you.For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)

I want you to know, dear friend, that my intention behind writing isn’t to make myself look good. I don’t write because I have it all figured out, but I do know the One who does. When we hide our sin we are only trapping ourselves in shame.

Instead let’s confesspray, store up truth in our hearts, and let Jesus set us free, just as he’s promised.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV)





2 thoughts on “The Secret to Overcoming Shame

  1. “Instead of hiding under a facade of perfection she reminded me that anything good in her was Christ alone.” Yes! For so long I hid under the idol of perfectionism – trying to prove myself in every way, even when I first became a Christian. Now it is so freeing to know that I fail but that Christ does not, and I am not enough, but He is. I can confess every sin instead of hiding like Adam and Eve did in the garden, knowing that I have a God who clothes me in His grace if I come to Him. We all have to be so much more vulnerable to one another so we can point each other to Christ’s sufficiency all the more!

    1. “I have a God who clothes me in His grace if I come to Him.” AMEN, Dani! Such freeing truth! It is an honor, privilege, and duty to continue sharing this message – the hope of the gospel – to the world. I believe the more we do, the easier and the safer it is to truly have that New Testament relationship with fellow believers. Relationships where we are free to admit to our shortcomings, confess to one another, and truly be healed from the bondages of sin and shame. Relationships that will truly glorify God as believers walk alongside one another in the journey of sanctification.

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