By Karen Smith
The enemy loves for us to live in darkness and feelings of unworthiness. However, God desires to free us from the bondage of shame. Godly conviction leads to heart change. Shame is simply self-hatred at our expense.
You know how the spiral self-talk can go.
I’m a terrible wife. An awful mother. I have failed my husband. My children are going to need long-term counseling because of me. I am unlovable, grumpy, and exhausted all the time. I yell at my kids and throw laundry baskets full of clothes at my husband. Things I have done previously in my life are unforgivable.
These phrases seem to be on repeat in my head regularly. Do you identify?
Friends, we do not have to live enslaved to these shameful, self-condemning thoughts. The enemy loves nothing better than for us to feel beat down and unworthy. He knows we are our worst enemy.
Romans 8:1 (NLT) tells us, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
What? Seriously, how can we live without condemnation?
First, we must recognize the difference between conviction and shame.
Conviction leads to freedom and godly change. God convicts us that our nagging hearts or disrespectful words are prideful or shaming, we bring this into the light and confess, which then leads us to communicating in healthy ways to ourselves and to others. The unloving self-talk begins to tell a new narrative more in line with who God says we are. We can take conviction from the Holy Spirit and humbly allow Him to transform us.
Shame is self-hatred at our expense. It costs us in our relationships with others, with God, with ourselves. Shame keeps us from accepting God’s forgiveness and grace. It also thrives in the dark and lonely places of our hearts and lives. Somehow we’ve believed shame is our burden to carry, and we keep it hidden in the depths of our hearts, resulting in complicated relationships and even extreme depression. While conviction leads to freedom and godly change, shame leads to self-inflicted suffering bondage.
Friends, God took our shame when He died on the cross. He has freed us from that burden.
As daughters of the King, we must know the difference between shame and conviction, so we can live as daughters of the King.
DEALING WITH EACH
Once we have determined the difference between conviction and shame, we need to understand how to deal with each.
Shame necessitates some deep heart work that I suggest doing alongside a Christian counselor. If you are struggling with past shame in your life, I am asking God to release you from this burden. I want to see you live a life of freedom, not one enslaved to the shame that keeps you in darkness.
Conviction often requires thought work. As I shared earlier, changing our thoughts is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. We need godly friends to walk with us through our convictions. We need relationships where we can share our convictions and receive Christlike love and accountability.
Where are you today? Are you stuck in the darkness of shame? Do you need to change your thought patterns and respond to Godly conviction?
Wife Step: Spend some time with Jesus determining if you have shame that is holding you hostage. If so, please reach out to a Christian counselor today. If it’s conviction that you are feeling, how do you need to change your thought process?
Karen lives in Madison, Alabama with her husband and three children. Karen has served as Preschool and Children’s Pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. What started out as a way to communicate medical facts has become a place where Karen uses life experiences to encourage others in their life journey. When she’s not busy caring for her family or writing, you might find her cooking or crafting.
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