As it turns out, our shaming experiences and the ensuing load of debilitating shame we carry is not something we are destined to schlep around with us for the rest of our days. Au contraire! Even in our most painful failures and humiliations God works ‘all’ things for our good – shame included! In those areas of personal exposure that we think too hurtful even to mention? Yes! God is there, at work using those very circumstances to teach, encourage, and build, by turning shame on its head, leading us through it to a stronger position of confidence and joy. He does this every time we find ourselves diminished, afraid to move forward, intimidated about next steps.
We wouldn’t expect a six-month-old to figure skate in the Olympics or be an NFL Quarterback. Neither does God anticipate that we will exhibit the fullest measure of perfection while still in our mortal bodies. However, just as we anticipate that the six-month-old becoming a six-year-old would develop age-appropriate skills, so, too, God desires for us to grow to maturity at a humanly appropriate rate. Here’s the really cool part, y’all – God facilitates our growth by His intervention in our times of greatest weakness! Like parents encouraging their baby in his attempts to walk, God, after our multiple ‘falls,’ helps us back up and encourages us to press on, holding us up as we do. Better yet, God is never frustrated with us because He views our progress from His Eternal perspective, not from our time-crunched deadlines.
As His little children, we (eventually) arrive at the point where we stop declaring, “I’ll do it myself.” and begin to concede that Jesus was right when he declared, “Without me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5. What parent isn’t elated when their child asks for help? Likewise, God, our loving Heavenly Father, is overjoyed to help us when we come to Him.
So, how, then, should we view our shame? Simply this: as a tool that we bring to God so He may completely transfigure it into a thing of beauty, advancing us closer to the goal of creating the beauty in this world that he has planned for us to create. And in that advancing, we are seen by the world and the community around us, as God’s work-in-progress masterpieces. PD