Don’t Let Shame Speak To You Like That

Ugh. I messed up again. I’m a terrible ministry wife. One of the most oppressive emotions for me in ministry is shame. It doesn’t take much to feel like I’ve failed miserably…again:

  • I should have stayed 30 more minutes to talk with that person.
  • I shouldn’t have said that silly thing. It wasn’t helpful.
  • I should have smiled at that person in the hallway.
  • I should have said yes to their invitation.

Shame whispers: You aren’t good enough. You aren’t doing enough. You should do better.

It’s easy to let shame tell us who we are. And, we listen. But my sister, don’t let shame speak to you like that! You are a child of God who has made you enough because of Jesus.

Let’s diffuse 3 lies of shame so we can grow emotionally healthy:

Shame takes the half-truths of who we are without Jesus and leaves us there. The fact is that we aren’t good enough in our sin. We don’t measure up to God’s holiness. We can’t hold a candle to Jesus’ perfection.

Shame whispers, “You will never get it right. You are a huge disappointment. You have no hope. No one can save you from this.” And, we listen.

Shame sets us up to live in continual deficit, in the never enoughs. We reside in the insufficiency of self instead of the sufficiency of Jesus. We wake up thinking we didn’t do it all yesterday so we will fail again today.

Shame whispers, “You better fix this fast or cover it up before anyone sees before Jesus sees. What would he think?” And, we listen.

Shame puts us on a spinning wheel to keep working to prove we are worth it. With every good deed, every prayer we pray, every Bible study we teach, or meal we prepare, we quickly reach for something in action that God has already given us in sacrifice.

Shame whispers, “You’ve got to keep working, keep doing, keep striving to be better. It’s up to you.” And, we listen.

Stop it. Don’t let shame speak to you like that!

The next time shame whispers in your ear, step into the truth and call it out: “I see you, shame. You are right. I’m not good enough in myself. I can’t do it all. I’m not perfect. I won’t be what everyone needs. I can’t help everyone. But, Jesus. Jesus changes everything. He is enough. Because of him, I am enough. He has given me the gift of enough-ness in him. I am loved and empowered.” 

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Listen to that, my friend.

by Amy Petersen