I need to talk about this because yeah… I have a problem.
It’s affected big things too, but what’s blown my mind lately is how it’s managed to touch even the smallest areas of my life as well, like drinking delicious coffee. And if anything affects my caffeine addiction, you know it’s going to get real. Okay, let me back up and explain and it should make more sense. Probably.
A little over a week ago I was at church and we were late as usual. I sat down in my seat and realized I hadn’t fed my addiction that morning, a risky move for any mother. But Jesus is so good and kind and totally has my back because right next to my seat was the blessed coffee station. It was His gracious gift to me and to those who would be interacting with me for the rest of the day if I didn’t down something soon.
I got up and quickly grabbed my cup of coffee because late entrance = no line. I enjoyed the service and sipped my warm drink and was generally pleased with how the morning was going.
After the speaker was done and people started to head out I thought I’d grab one more cup for the go, because I mean… FREE COFFEE! Except this time there was a line. So I hopped in formation behind a gentleman and that’s when it happened.
“Sorry,” I said quietly. The word just slipped out.
Ummm… What was with the apology? I didn’t bump into him or anything, just got in line. Whatever. I let it slide. It was my turn anyway. The guy was filling up his creamer and I began to pour my cup and I looked at him and said it again…
“Sorry.” Really, Becky? That was 2 times in 10 seconds and I had done absolutely nothing wrong!
I didn’t know what my deal was, but I did know I was beginning to annoy myself. I grabbed a few creamers and poured them in and this young woman came up behind me and LORD HELP ME, I did it again!
“Oh, I’m sorry,” as I scooted out of her way. Funny thing is, she actually said ‘sorry’ back to me as well. What the…
I just stood there stirring my coffee, shaking my head and wondering what was going on. Do I do this all the time and I was just now noticing it? Was I actually addicted to something more than caffeine for once? Was I addicted to saying ‘sorry’, like I didn’t know how to interact without it? Clearly, the evidence was pointing towards yes, but I began thinking about my normal interactions beyond this one and that’s when I had to admit my problem.
I was a Chronic Apologizer. To the undeniable core.
My writer’s brain began to fly. Because underneath these little apologies was a huge beast that had crept its way into all the pieces of my life. The Bible says, “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) So what was in my heart that compelled me to apologize constantly, like I was a burden to others or messing up in all the things?
SHAME. It’s a lurking monster just waiting to leach onto anything it can, at anytime, for no apparent reason.
But don’t let it fool you. Shame always has a reason and a purpose. It doesn’t just appear one day, although your eyes can be opened to its potency in an instant. I am living proof of that scenario. Shame is rooted and anchored in something deeper, something we’ve come to believe about ourselves whether we are conscious of it or not. It’s deceptive and powerful and masks the truth about our true selves. And we believe it.
We step into its reality when we aren’t suppose to be there. We believe we aren’t worth it. We believe we aren’t worthy of love or acceptance or basic respect. We believe we don’t deserve that compliment or encouraging word. We don’t deserve that blessing or gift or answer to prayer. Other people may, but not us. And even deeper still, we begin to believe that if anyone saw us for who we really are, he or she wouldn’t love us. Our imperfections become the focus of our identity and we start to fear the opinions of others because man, if they only knew. If only…
Dang, Shame. You really know how to do a number on us all.
And so we believe the embedded lies in our hearts and go about our days feeling guilty about ourselves. I remember thinking right after my coffee fiasco, “Wow, I must really not like myself…” Because if I’m saying sorry for all these things that are so insignificant, how bad must I feel about myself for the major mess-ups. If we struggle with shame it will touch everything in our lives because thoughts are connected to the heart, and if we believe something, we will eventually act it out. In one way or another it will come out.
I realize it may seem like shame holds the upper hand, but listen closely now, my friend. You have the Royal Flush (Is that right? I’m pretending to be a poker expert, but you get my point…). The fact is you are Royalty, created for victory and beauty. You don’t have to take it. You don’t have to sit there and let those lies screw with your head. You deserve such freedom and abundance. So here’s one of the most freeing statements you will ever hear:
You do not have the authority to condemn yourself.
Yep. You read it correctly. Read it again.
We can all recognize when we are wrong and need to set things straight, but you don’t have the right to beat yourself up! You don’t have the right to say you are dumb or bad or unworthy of love. It’s not up to you and it’s not up to me. It’s not up to any person on this planet to determine your worth. Really. The moment you let God’s grace and loving kindness flood your heart and fill your life, all that junk has to leave. You release any authority you think you may have to shame yourself and you hand it right over to Him. If there’s anyone else in your life who thinks they may have the authority to shame you, let me tell you flat out. That person is wrong. People can’t make you feel shame unless you let them, so don’t let them!
Because the real truth is this: You are deeply loved because YOU ARE YOU. Nothing more, nothing less. Shame has no hold because your imperfections don’t define you. God defines you and not a single thing can change that. No matter how hard the fall or how deep the pit, the game is not over because Love embraces us where we are at and Love always wins. God is crazy about you and He will be for all eternity. I know it seems too good to be true, but we have a God whose goodness knows no end. So believe it.
Believe it hard. Believe it’s real. And believe it’s for you.
It’s your right to be loved, dear one. To know you are loved and liberated from shame for forever! Be confident in who you are, but more importantly, be confident in the Love that overcomes all the darkness this world will ever know, including the shame shadows in your heart. He will meet you there.
Do you hear me SHAME and GUILT and all other self-condemning talk in my head? I’m sending you packing! You aren’t welcome in this girl’s home anymore.
Sorry, not sorry.