daily devotional

Google shame and today you get a whole bunch of Brene’ Brown quotes from her famous TEDTalk. Shame is a popular topic today and one that has been on my mind a lot. Shame. The very word brings an emotion that makes me feel like a little girl hanging my head low, hiding from what I’ve done. Brene’ Brown has a whole lot to say about shame as the most powerful, master emotion. Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.

Shame doesn’t empower us to change, shame digs the hole that buries us deeper. Shame is NOT from God. It was never his desire for you to walk in shame over the path you have taken, the mistakes you have made, or what has been said about you.

I’ve been singing a lot about shame lately, as my new favorite song seems to be on repeat. Have you heard Bethel Music’s “Ain’t No Grave”. The opening lyrics say:

Oh, shame is a prison as cruel as a grave
Shame is a robber and he’s come to take my name

Shame is a cruel tool of the enemy that strips you of your power to change your behavior or direction. It digs the hole deeper and throws away the key to the locked chains holding you back. And it’s this powerful, master emotion that comes knocking on all of our doors when we stumble as humans.

Here’s what I want you to know … God knew every detail of your stumble and your mistake before you ever made it, and he still chose you. He still sees you as worthy. He still loves you with a relentless love that is simply unstoppable. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of my sister, it’s already been covered. Covered in the blood of Jesus, redeemed in full.

Yet, your past still comes knocking sometimes doesn’t it? Flashbacks of that moment you chose wrong, that weakness you surrendered to, that path you wasted your time on that was heading in the exact wrong direction. And when it does, the emotion is shame. After the nasty visit of shame, you’re left feeling unworthy and less than. Your shame is a crack for the enemy to weasel his evil way in and pick at your soul with torment. Let’s seal that dang crack!

Shame is cruel. It doesn’t play fair. It’s one sided and seeks only to kill your hope, steal your joy and destroy your future.

Yet we dance with it sometimes don’t we? We willfully replay the story. We retrace the steps. We relive it all and shrink back in our shame, feeling flawed and broken. Hey listen to me, YOU ARE THE PRIZED CREATION OF THE ALMIGHTY and prized creations don’t dance with shame. Shake that crap off and step into the life available to you.

In Zephaniah 3:19 (okay stop right there … yes I said Zehpaniah, it’s actually in your bible. I know, shocking right? I had to take a double take this morning during my study time and not rely on my online bible, but whip out my big book to turn to the pages myself. Sure enough, there in the Old Testament, 3 pages long is the book of Zephaniah. It’s filled with a message God spoke to this man we’ll call Z. A message that was a total call out to the people who had become prideful and were oppressing those who felt ‘less than’. The oppressed had been shamed by the prideful. And the Lord says “I will change their shame into praise.”

I will change their shame into praise. Oh sister, this is what God wants to do for you today. He wants to take the very thing that has caused you shame and turn it into praise. He wants to take your mess and turn it into your message. God almighty will use the thing that you have hidden in shame to set you free and make your impact. Nothing is wasted in the hands of God, not even your ‘thing’ that has brought you shame.

You know, it’s the ones who have been through what you have been through that you will actually listen to. If they understand your specific struggle and pain through personal experience, you credit them with wisdom that could guide you. These are the people that God has changed their shame into praise. They are using it for good, just as God had planned.

It’s the former addicts that now build recovery centers. It’s the formerly broken and desperate that now counsel and guide. It’s the once hopeless that now spread the greatest hope. It’s the one who was hurt who now restores. It’s the one who was abused who now helps heal. It’s the one who has walked the path who can now guide others to a different path. Of course it is, because isn’t it the one who died who now gives us life?

This is God changing shame into praise. Good coming from the bad. Growth coming from the loss. Purpose coming through the pain. What was once labeled as shame is now turned into praise for a God who changed it all.

Now back to that song I’ve been singing on repeat:

Oh, shame is a prison as cruel as a grave
Shame is a robber and he’s come to take my name
Oh, love is my redeemer
Lifting me up from the ground
Love is the power when my freedom song is found

Love, the love of our savior Jesus who faced the grave for us so that we could live. Let us not forsake his grave by living a life imprisoned by shame. The price has already been paid for your shame to be thrown into the pits of hell where it belongs. Shame only serves to hold you down and a girl with potential like you, a girl with a future like yours, a girl with a God like this and his plan with your name written all over it … ahhhh no, you can’t be held down.

There ain’t no grave
Gonna hold my body down

Why? Because there was no grave that could hold his body down. He rose up from death, and he’s taking us with him. We don’t belong in a grave of shame. No matter what’s in our past, no matter how bad we’ve screwed this up, redemption is ours. We step out of that grave of shame and we step into praise over what God wants to do with our story now.

One last part of that song that happens to be my favorite. Listen to this:

Oh, there was a battle
A war between death and life
And there on a tree
The Lamb of God was crucified
And He went on down to hell
He took back every key
He rose up as a lion and He set all captives free

We are captives of shame, buried alive in graves of depression, graves of regret, graves of fear, graves of overwhelm, boredom, laziness, addictions, negative thoughts, bad choices, and shame over it all. We are captives … set free! He did it for us.

Now step into the abundant life available to you and live it sister, because there ain’t no grave that can hold your body down.