Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. – Proverbs 28:13
Today we’re going to look at letting go of shame over past mistakes, which is necessary in moving toward the free life where we can spend ourselves on behalf of others. When we are weighed down by our messy or painful past, often we are building up walls to hide or protect ourselves. Whether we realize it or not, we are allowing our past to determine how we are living in the present.
God’s desire is not to shun us, but to heal us. He cannot strengthen and sustain us from a distance. We have to let Him come close. By building these walls, we are keeping the very life we need from coming in. We need to be willing to let go of our walls, to let go of our fear, and allow the Lord to come in and heal us.
The thing about shame is that it makes us feel like we’re not good enough to do anything important. Professor and author Brené Brown explains in her book Daring Greatly that there is a major problem with “scarcity,” in our culture today. Scarcity is the underlying feeling that there is never enough (money or success, but also love, security or peace), which leads us to believe the lie that “I am not enough.” It’s what drives us to perfectionism. It’s what reminds us of shame from our pasts and causes us to strive to be more, do more, and have more. She says that overcoming these driving forces in our lives “takes awareness, commitment, and work… every single day. The larger culture is always applying pressure, and unless we’re willing to push back and fight for what we believe in, the default becomes a state of scarcity.”
We have to be aware of the pitfalls of our culture, and we have to be committed to fighting against the default of believing those lies. The truth is, God’s love is enough to cover all of our past failures. If we can tear down that wall of “never enough,” we will see that God is right there waiting—and that He is enough for us.
There is no need to prove that we are worthy of love or to protect ourselves from failure… We will all fail sometimes. Even in learning through those failures, He will make us strong, and He will be our fortress.
Today’s the day! Prepare to volunteer or make your donation. Like we said on Saturday, it’s okay if your day to do this isn’t exactly today or tomorrow. In the time you’re waiting, pray for wisdom, guidance, and compassion as you do your part to help meet the needs of others. Pray with gratitude for the role God has allowed you to play in His greater plan.
As you close out this week, reflect back on your mindset before you began the challenge, while you were doing it, and how you feel now. What’s changed? What have you learned? Above all, what do you now think it means to spend yourself and how can you take what you’ve done this week forward into your daily life? God will bless you as you continue forward doing your best to step outside your comfort zone and live for the people around you, and, ultimately, for Him.