October 14, 2017

Overcoming shame and condemnation graphic

“God isn’t looking for perfect people. He’s looking for pure people.” -Dr. Cornelius Sanders II

God isn’t looking for perfect people. He is the perfect One.  He’s just looking for people with pure hearts and pure motives. Pure desires and pure intentions.

This is one of the best things about being a child of God. You can make mistakes and still be 100% His.

Yes, I said it…

It’s okay to make mistakes.

It’s okay to fall.

It’s okay to still be going through your “process.” (Because it is, indeed, a process).

More than anything, God just wants to know that our hearts are pure and that we want Him. If our hearts are pure, then He is able to come in and change us because we’re open to His will.

I hope you find freedom in the reality of your imperfections, and the abundance of His grace today.

____________________

The past few weeks I’ve really been pondering condemnation and how Satan uses it to distance God’s people from Him and make us feel bad that we are not perfect.

I want to share my thoughts and insight on this (a subject that I’ve dealt with strongly in my own life) to help you get free from shame and condemnation. Not going to lie, this post gets a little heavy, but please see/hear my heart in this. Freedom from shame and condemnation is our portion.

What is shame? Condemnation vs. conviction

What’s the most notable difference between shame/condemnation and conviction? Well, shame comes from Satan, while conviction comes from God. God’s conviction draws you nearer to him, while Satan’s shame and condemnation makes you retreat from God’s presence.

God's conviction draws you nearer to him, while Satan's shame makes you retreat from God's presence. Click To Tweet

When Adam & Eve ate from the tree and disobeyed god, the first thing they did was cover themselves in shame, and hide themselves from the presence of God (Genesis 3:6-8).

That’s Satan’s entire goal with shame. To make us feel so horrible about ourselves that we feel like we have to retreat from God’s presence. Not because we don’t want God’s presence, but because our shame is speaking to us telling us we don’t deserve it. Shame reminds us that we are unrighteous without god and totally unworthy to sit in his presence, and it causes us to run from God.

Godly conviction may, too, remind us of how unworthy we are to sit in His presence, but it always accompanies a reminder of what Jesus did and God’s love for us. It’s God’s love that draws us closer to him, even in the midst of our own mistakes, sin and foolishness.

Shame brings humiliation (about the mistakes you made), hopelessness, fear (that God may leave you or punish you), unworthiness (of being in his presence)

Conviction brings humility (reminded that you need God), hope (in what Christ did), gratitude (that Jesus died for your sins), urgency (to repent and be changed by god)

Jesus has given us full access to God’s presence and he has already covered our mistakes and our sins….so obviously Satan’s tactic of shame should be useless against us, right?

The enemy’s (not-so-clever) shaming process

Here it is yall. Thinking of times I dealt strongly with shame, this is a very key process that occurs when shame hits us.

Shame –> Isolation –> Attack –> Depravity –> -Apostasy

Step 1: Shame
We’ve covered this in the previous section. Moving on.

Step 2: Isolation
Shame has a tendency to draw people into an isolated state. Shame causes us to begin to think we’re alone, we feel like we can’t talk to anyone about our mistakes, our prayers become watered down because we don’t feel worthy, we begin to become distant from God, etc.As mentioned, the enemy wants us to be isolated from all sources of positive, godly energy.

The enemy wants us to be isolated from all sources of positive, godly energy.

He wants us isolated from other believers. He wants us separated from the word of God. He wants us isolated from prayer and building our relationship with him. If he can cause us to willingly isolate ourselves (through shame), then he can get us in our weakest moments…with no support, no prayer life, no accountability, no word of God, and no presence to give us strength.

“Satan loves detached believers, unplugged from the life of the Body, isolated from God’s family, and unaccountable to spiritual leaders — because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his tactics.”

Step 3: Attack
When we get in isolation due to condemnation, we may not be completely weak, but the longer we stay there, the weaker we may get. When we are in isolation, we are in our most vulnerable state. This is when we become more susceptible to attack (or at least not overcoming the attack). Satan knows that we are detached from our source of energy that would enable us to win a battle, so this is the time he chooses to whisper lies into our ears, tempt us, make us feel more shame, and the list goes on and on!

Don’t let shame draw you into a hole of isolation or loneliness. When you isolate yourself from your source of energy/strength, Satan sees you as a clear target. Instead of isolating, intentionally draw closer to those things God has designed to build us up; get in the word of God, pray when you don’t feel like it, and if nothing else, continue (or start) in fellowship with other believers!!!!

Step 4 & 5: Depravity –> Apostasy
Ultimately, Satan has isolated and attacked us because, as mentioned earlier, his whole goal is to separate us from God. He wants to deprive us of everything god has placed in us – our hope, our dreams, our faith, our holiness, our vision, our fire, our fervency – so that ultimately we will turn away from God.

The power of community & vulnerability in the midst of shame

Do not underestimate the power of community while you are in a time of struggle.

Just recently, I was going through a rough patch. There were times at church that I would throw myself on the altar and cry and shout until there was a puddle of snot and tears (literally…disgusting, I know). During those times, I had women I didn’t even know come sit right next to me, in the midst of my mess, and pray with and over me. They would cry out for God with me and just sit there at the altar with me in worship. I didn’t know them very well. They didn’t know what I was going through. But they were present in the midst of my battle and they fought with me. (Thinking about it now makes me cry because I’m so grateful. I felt so alone.)

Also recently, some ladies from my church (who I also don’t know very well) came over my house, a 30-minute drive from where they live, to pray over it. It’s this type of sacrifice and support that is NEEDED in the body of Christ. This is why virtual, online “church” just won’t cut it! We need physical people and a community!

Side note: If you don’t have a church or you don’t know other believers, don’t feel bad or hopeless. Keep reading to the bottom and I will address it.

Part of the reason Satan wants us in isolation is because he knows the power that comes when we are connected with God and with people (just like the examples above).

I’m convinced people are a lot less likely to backslide when they are connected to and actively involved in a community of people in which they can be vulnerable and authentically imperfect.

So many Christians right now have stopped going to church. They stopped not because they are rebellious. Not because they don’t want to please or serve God. But because they feel so much shame. The enemy has convinced so many believers that being connected to the community of Christ will only worsen their shame rather than set them free.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not trying to say that there is not an issue in Christianity with people condemning others and scolding them. THERE IS and it is NOT OKAY.  I am also not trying to belittle or disregard anyone’s negative experiences with the church. Truly, many people are broken and hurt because of the Church, and this is totally not okay either. We as the Church must do better to be healers and not destroyers!!! (Jesus please help your people!)

But what I am saying is that some of my greatest bondage has occurred when I didn’t feel free to talk with anyone about what I was going through. And some of my most freeing moments have been times where I FINALLY just confessed it alllll to other people and asked for help and prayer. It seriously is just a breath of fresh air to let go of shame and what others may think and just ask for help! This helps you!!!!!!! So don’t be afraid to do that.

Here’s a scripture that literally discusses all this stuff:

16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.
James 5:16

The reality is that the body of Christ NEEDS each other & we most certainly need God — for when we are weak, He is strong. When I am weak, my family of Christ can lift me up; and when they are weak I can lift them up. We should all be balancing each other out (not tearing each other down). We are there to support and uplift each other in the battles & seasons of life. We read the Bible from a lens of individuality, but in reality, the Bible is LITERALLY all about God’s people collectively fighting for His will and each other TOGETHER.

Don’t fight alone

You don’t have to, and shouldn’t feel shame or defeat! We have all messed up. But what brings us together is that deep down our hearts still yearn for the living God.

RIGHT NOW there is someone who is trying to fight a battle alone. I want to tell you that you don’t have to fight alone. The body of Christ is here so that you constantly have a team to war with in the spirit.

If you need help, seek it. If you need prayer, please ask for it. If you are on the verge of backsliding, speak up. If you feel shame, confess your sins to God and to people so that you can be free. If you are struggling with suicide, talk to someone. If you need to get counseling, do it now. Don’t let shame make you feel like you’re all alone or that you can’t talk to anyone.

In fact, if you have a need but don’t have a community you can go to for support, please email me RIGHT NOW and I will talk to you, pray for you, support you and love you. This is what the family of Christ is all about. WE NEED EACHOTHER!!!!

THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION FOR THEM WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS!!!!!

Freedom in Christ from all shame and condemnation

I have some super awesome news for you, my friend!!!!! When you mess up, God doesn’t see your mistakes, he sees what Christ did on the cross!!

(Can I get a hallelujah?!)

You know what that means??? All you have to do is confess & repent and you’re free to live a bold and free life walking closely with God. Ya ain’t gotta feel bad, you don’t have to feel distant from God. All you have to do is be 100% you — authentically imperfect — and God our Father is right there to love on us!!!!!

He is with us in the storm. He is with us in what Satan likes to make us think is isolation. He is with us, he is with us, he is with us all the time because he is our Father and he will never leave nor forsake us!!! Now where’s the shame in that??

I don’t have other believers to go to…what do I do?

I don’t have a super extensive list. Ultimately, I want to provide you with resources that will help and not hurt. So here are some resources I’d recommend to get you started. If none of these fit your needs, PLEASE don’t brush it off. Do a quick google search for whatever it is you’re looking for – counseling, support, a church…anything.

Kansas City Resources:

  • Exodus Cry – a resource in Grandview, MO for women overcoming sexual sin and getting out of sex trafficking (Click here)
  • World Revival Church – A church of love, strength and power (Services: Wed @ 7, Fri @ 7, Sundays @ 10) (Click here)
  • House of hope & healing – “A place to find your hope again.” A house that is open during the day where trained and experienced people are there to pray for you. You can go as many times as you want. People from all over the world have been healed, set free and saved in this house (816-777-0707, Click here)
  • International House of Prayer (IHOP) – A prayer sanctuary open 24/7 where you can go to get prayer, spend time with God, get away from distractions, or just meet other hungry and imperfect believers (Click here)
  • KC Christian women meet ups (Click here)
  • KC Christian Counseling (Click here)

Wichita, KS Christian Resources

  • Revelation Ministries Christian Church – a place where man meets God face to face! (Services: Tues @ 6, Thurs @ 7, Sundays @ 11) (Click here)

Virtual resources:

  • Kansas City Church Finder (Click here)
  • Wichita Church finder (Click here)
  • Heather Lindsey online forum for women (Click here)
  • Typically its pretty easy to find local churches and counseling centers online, too, if you’re not in my region.

FINALLY – There’s me! Email me or message me on Facebook if you are struggling and don’t have anyone to go to. Seriously, I am here for you. The contact form on my site goes straight to my email. Use it if you need it.

To conclude, I love you. I know I’ve been talking about some not-so-happy subjects, but I hope you see the importance in addressing these tough issues.

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