Can I just be real for a second?
Nothing specific stood out; I just felt like I was standing under flow of shame without an umbrella.
Not a good enough writer, not a good enough mother, not a good enough wife. I doubted whether I should even be writing as a ministry.
I’ve been there before. In fact, I’ve spent most of my life in that place. But in the past year I’ve been on a healing journey that’s taken me from shame to grace covered. (I shared a little bit of that story here.)
Since I’ve started living like God’s priceless possession, I wasn’t expecting the onslaught of stinkin’ thinkin’ that had me slogging through mud holes again.
Several factors contributed to my state of mind.
I’ve been hustling on my memoir, Curtain Call. Though I love writing and feel a clear call from God to write my story, dredging up the memories brings back those feelings of worthlessness and shame.
I haven’t gotten enough sleep. Many late writing nights in a row led to sleep deprivation, and eventually a migraine. Was it Vince Lombardi who said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”? He wasn’t a writer, but he did get sacked a few times on the football field. Close enough.
I isolated myself. Writing is a solitary profession. As an introvert, I cherish solitude. But too little friend time and not enough family time allows the enemy too much liberty to mess with my brain. It’s been a favorite tactic of his since he met Eve in the garden—find them alone and they’re easier prey.
You might be asking, “But Lyneta, aren’t you that blogger whose sole purpose is to remind people how valuable they are as God’s creation? Aren’t you here to talk about seeing the goodness of God in the midst of pain?”
It’s a fair question. I wondered the same thing myself.
Thankfully, God did not let me forget who I was for long. In His mercy, He gently reminded me of the depths of His love and that I could safely rest with Him. A few of those days, confined to bed with a bottle of Excedrin Migraine on the nightstand, that’s literally all I could do.
Now I’m even more convinced of one thing. God tasked me with writing and speaking about our identity as Christ’s heirs so that I would never forget it. I need this message just as much as anyone else does and sharing it helps me to apply it on a regular basis.
So what do we do when a cloudburst of shame opens up and we’re stuck in a downpour of doubt? I have four ideas.
Support System Who builds you up and reminds you that you’re not only good enough, but a masterpiece? (Ephesians 2:10). Surround yourself with people who do this regularly. By the way, work on building up others too. You never know who needs a little encouragement and often you’re blessed in the process.
Scripture Meditation I know I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but it bears saying again. The better we know God’s word, the more we’ll understand His character and our relationship with Him. Many times in the Psalms I’ve found David in distress as he prays. He eventually returns to the goodness of God.
Nurture and Protect Life’s demands often try to suck the life right out of us. Sometimes we have to push through and deal with stressful situations, but often we forget that if we don’t take care of our health, our bodies will give out on us. If you’re like me, getting proper nutrition, sleep, and exercise are naturally at the bottom of your to-do list. Putting them closer to the top gives us an advantage both emotionally and physically.
Gratitude When traipsing through the fog of despair, it’s difficult to keep a healthy perspective. Making the choice to focus on the blessings instead of burdens helps brighten our outlook, like a little peek of sunshine after a heavy shower.
This weekend I chatted with my critique group over video. Our meeting reminded me that God gave me these precious ladies at just the right time in my life. I wouldn’t be where I am in my book project without them, nor would I know such a deep kinship could form long-distance with people I’ve only seen a few times in person.
And that’s only one example from my gratitude list. If I listed all the people who’ve been an invaluable source of love and encouragement this last year, I’d write a tome to rival Tolkien. Suffice it to say, all I have to be grateful for far outweighs the difficult things.
If you’re on this healing journey with me, can we agree that this isn’t a perfectly straight line?
Learning who we are and Whose we are is messy sometimes. But He isn’t expecting a perfect line of progression at a 60-degree angle.
We just have to follow Him, one step at a time. The path is crooked. The weather is stormy some days. There are detours. Our boots will get muddy.
But that doesn’t change His purpose for us:
Like any good parent who finds a son or daughter out wandering in the downpour, He says, “Come in out of the shame. You were made for more.
Have any of these four steps helped you rediscover your worth as a child of God? What other ways do you come in out of the shame?