What she was saying was that there was no shame, and those thoughts of fear have been paid for by Jesus. But, He also wants not just forgiveness for our hearts and minds but freedom by turning and walking in a new direction. His desire for us is peace and abundant life.
Fear is a big deal in my life. Being fully known by God, my wife, and others terrifies me. What if they see all my darkness and reject me? But over the last three years of walking in ongoing light through confession with the Lord, my wife, and others, I have learned that I can experience true fellowship and deeper understanding. When I am real with Jesus, He reminds me that His blood, not my goodness, has covered me. He loves me, not some future better version of me.
The sin of my past was loud. It wasn’t subtle or private, it was out in the open and obvious. I still feel like I can hear it when I walk down the street. So much of my identity today seems to be wrapped up in my past, who I once was and what I once did.
Guilt and shame seem to reign in my life more than grace and forgiveness. I see myself so clearly in my shortcomings that it distorts my whole perspective for who I truly am.
At an early age, I became captivated by measuring up. I was mesmerized by achieving and striving. I remember in grade school, getting my first straight-A report card. And after that, anything less was unacceptable. Not that anyone told me so – my parents certainly didn’t pressure me, nor did my teachers. But in my mind, well heaven forbid I got a B (gag, I know!).
I was also the swimmer in high school who wouldn’t settle for anything less than 100-percent effort. I wasn’t a star athlete, but I knew I could ruthlessly compete with myself.
I just celebrated 4 years of being married to the most wonderful man in the world. As I reflected on my life around the weeks and months after our wedding, I was reminded of a very dark time in my life. I battled depression – good days and bad days, smiles and sadness. When I was in it, I blamed my circumstances. I had just started teaching and it was a grueling first year. Garrett and I were working out how to live together (aka I was realizing how incredibly selfish I really am). I was dealing with harsh memories of unresolved guilt and shame, and a huge part of me felt really alone. Where was God in all of that? Where could I meet Him? Why wasn’t He listening to my cries for help?
Guilt. It was a constant companion, a joy-stealing robber of freedom and a misguided motivator. Are you familiar with this coy, esteem-ruining culprit? Guilt has followed me around for most of my life. I remember leaving for school in the morning and feeling sad on the bus because I thought my absence made my mother…