Where do you suppose shame comes from?
I posed this question to a women’s Bible class recently, and one young woman replied, “From Adam and Eve.”
From two leaf-clad sinners, trembling with shame in the bushes because they’d just distrusted the most loving Person in their life…and all for a bite of fruit. (Oh, tragedy: to live in shame, instead of walking in the garden with God.)
So shame comes from sin.
Sometimes, at least.
Have you ever noticed how we tend to be shame-generating machines, all by our lonesomes? How we make things into sins that aren’t? Or how we heap shame on ourselves, far beyond the remorse God meant for us to feel? Or how our real remorse saps all our energy to change?
I didn’t exercise yesterday. I failed.
Why in the world did I voice that gossipy thought aloud? I’m so angry at myself!
I slept in — again. I’ll never beat my laziness.
Think with me a moment: what’s the habit or character trait you’d be least likely to turn into a blog post?
Is it your love for dessert or your desire for stuff? Perhaps it’s the words that jump out of your mouth – or off your fingertips. Maybe it’s your unhealthy eating or untidy home, your impatience or your anger at God?
If it’s the last thing you want to talk about, chances are good it’s an area where you’re feeling shame.
In November, a brand new book hit my inbox: so new, in fact, that I was the third person to read it. (Such are the privileges of being a freelance editor.) It’s called Blameless: Living a Life Free from Shame, and I loved it right away. A book on shame that kept me laughing from beginning to end: amazing!
In Blameless, Christy Fitzwater unleashes her keen sense of humor on herself. Each chapter is a confession of some area that has caused her shame. Some area that’s been highlighted by the keen insight of the Holy Spirit in her life. Some area where God is resurrecting her into new life, freedom and joy.
Long before I had finished editing, I was eager to share this book. I went out for a birthday lunch with a young-mom friend in Jerusalem, and told her all about it. She was so intrigued with and ready for this book about freedom from shame! And she had a friend in mind with whom she wanted to share it as well. Back at home in America, the (mostly college-aged) girls in my small group ate it up. I read parts of the first two and last chapters with them, and we discussed shame and our identity in Christ.
I joke that the only time I’ve ever been early is when I was born. I ricocheted right into life, three weeks before I was due to arrive. (They should have called me Rocket Baby.) But honestly? One of the things that causes me the most shame in my life is my use of time. The urge to complete “just one more thing” is real, and it makes me late, over and over again. Not to mention the fact that I’m a master at procrastination. In my love for saving my own time and comfort, I waste the time that belongs to others. And it’s not a pretty thing.
Then she shares the too-good-but-still true news: God has taken these goals on as His responsibility.
Are you hearing me here?
He means for us to be blameless, and He’s made it His joy to get us there!
I’ve read hundreds of books in my life, many of them very good. But few have made me laugh so much, given me so much hope, and made me so eager to share its pages with my friends. Why? Because it’s crammed full of the gospel.
Friends, I’d love to have you join me in reading Blameless. It’s just been released! And once you’ve read it, would you come back here and tell us how the Good News in it helped your heart? That’s a conversation I’d love to have.
Photography: JenniMarie Photography