Shame is a bully and grace is a shield.
Ann Voskamp wrote these words a few days ago and my heart found so much rest.
You see, my heart needed the rest. For years, I have battled with self worth, identity crises, and choosing to see the grace so freely given to us. I've fallen asleep hating myself, who I am, and the poor decisions I've made.
Another one of my heroes, Jackie Hill Perry, tweeted the other day: "The devil will tell you a lie while using your own voice." How can that be? How can my voice sound so like the devil's that I believe it? Not only do I believe it, I mark it on my soul. Brand myself with the lies that I am not good enough, too much, second best. I am damaged goods, broken pieces. These are the words the devil -- in my own voice -- so often whispers to an already broken heart.
But, shame is a bully and grace is a shield.
But how do we remember this? In the darkest of days when the world slides away and, more than anything, you want to crawl out of your own skin and hide away somewhere for a while, how do we remember grace's protection?
In teaching, I hardly ever ask my students to memorize passages of literature. I hated doing it as a student and I don't necessarily see the value of it now. For many years, I viewed scripture in the same way. But more and more, I've seen my error. Nearly every day, I find myself in Ephesians 1. It covers a multitude of sins. It's words have become my heart's song. And, unintentionally, I've written them on my heart. Through tears and anguish, the Lord has lovingly erased the lies the devil tells me in my own voice to replace them with who He is and what that means for me.
I am a child of God.
I am redeemed.
I am His beloved.
I am made in His (perfect) image.
And, more than that:
God is not surprised by my faults.
He is not surprised by my failures.
He is not tired of me.
He is not exhausted by my tears and questions.
Though the road is winding and rocky (and you've forgotten your best hiking shoes), rest in Ephesians 1. Like David, bring your tears and heartbreak to the Lord. Like Paul, remember that though you are the chief of sinners, you are more loved and covered in grace than you ever dared imagine.
If you are lost, find a seat and open your eyeballs. Let those words be an ointment to your wounds. Your wounds are not too deep, nor too wide. They are welcome here.
Shame is a bully.
Grace is a shield.
walking with you,