“There’s just something wrong with you!” Nothing like hearing that from a parent to completely undermine your self-confidence and kill any hope of you thinking anyone will ever love you. In counseling sessions and recovery meetings over the years, I have heard endless tales of parents who told their children, either by actions or words, that they were of no consequence. They weren’t worth their time, their energy, their money, their love.
Of course, as children, we don’t know that we are dealing with broken adults in these cases. We don’t know that we can’t trust what they say, that they are most likely just passing on the brokenness they inherited from their parents. We just take what they say and how they act as the gospel truth, and get our value from whether or not they acted like they valued us.
But that devaluation we receive, whether from parents or school mates or the media, sticks with us. It coats us, inside and out. It is like the slime that has covered my swim spa – clear and hard to see, but sticking to every surface, and activated whenever something touches it.
Shame doesn’t come from what you do. Shame comes from what other say and infer about who and how you are. It may have started with something that you did wrong, but the point of the conversation moved from what you did to who you are. This is especially true if what you did negatively affected them in any way – it is a way to strike back at whoever hurt them. For many, including myself, it can be a knee jerk reaction to fear or pain.
Then we take the shame we receive from those around us and apply it to God. “If the people closest to me see that there is something irreparably wrong with me, then just imagine what God must think and feel about me. Yeah, He might have started out with a perfect design, but I must have done something really horrible to royally muck it up.”
But that is simply a clever lie of the enemy. God knew all the days of your life before you lived one. He made you fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses if your needs weren’t met. He knew the choices you would make, and how you would end up today. But here’s the clincher – HE STILL MADE YOU. Knowing all of that, He still wanted you just as you are, even today.
God knows you better than anyone, and He says you are perfect to Him. The question is whether or not you will accept His opinion of you over other people’s opinions. The only way to be free of shame is to accept and live according to another non-shaming opinion of who you are. The good news is that God’s good opinion of you has been made very clear. The bad news is that you will have to discard as a lie all of the other opinions you have based your life upon. Easier said than done.
So whose report are you going to believe? Your broken parents? The stupid children who made fun of you and bullied you? The greedy corporations that profit from making you feel “less than” everyone else? Or the God of the Universe who made you and knows you intimately, and STILL says you are His beautiful daughter whom He loves?
If you are having trouble making that choice because of past ways people have treated you, then I invite you to make an appointment with me to heal those painful memories and free you up to create a completely new identity based on who God says you are. You don’t have to live according to the lies of the enemy, the ignorance of other broken people, or even the incorrect assumptions you have made about yourself. You can be free of your shame, starting today.