So, why talk about hiding you might ask? But, we’ve all been guilty of it and it started in the garden with Adam and Eve as they became aware of their sin and disobedience and went into hiding. The put on covers (leaves) and that is what has been happening ever since.
Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Even though the situation is desperately sad it does makes me smile at the thought of them trying to cover themselves up from a God who sees everything. He walked in the cool of day with them, face to face but now they were making themselves unavailable to God. He was calling out for them but they didn’t feel they could answer.
Have you ever felt like that?
Has God been calling your name but you can’t answer?
Adam and Eve were no longer living as God intended and shame had entered the garden. They began living in the shadows, lurking out of sight.
When you have been living like this long enough you become accustomed to it. You stop noticing the layers that have been building up, covering yourself with to hide away, as they have made you into someone else over time.
Have you been holding back from God until you feel you might be more palatable for him?
When we live in shame we become a poor imitation of who God created us to be and wear a Christian mask so people accept us and we ‘fit in’!
But, we weren’t created to JUST fit in but to STAND OUT. God wants people to really see us so that they can see him who lives within us.
So, what is shame?
Maybe it’s shouting at the kids, internet porn, bankruptcy, debt, divorce, termination? Take your pick, fill in the blanks.
We all so easily carry shame around, it seems to be universal and it’s something we’re afraid to talk about. In fact, the less we talk about it the more control it has over us!!! It stops us coming out of hiding and keeps us hidden.
Shame is also crafty and insidious because it loves the dark and it knows that you won’t talk about your ‘thing’ the thing that made you put on that first layer of covering/protection for fear of rejection by others.
When shame gets a grip on us we don’t even notice as it’s crept up layer by layer. Shame lets you believe that you have fallen too far, no-one else has sinned like you, what you’ve done is unforgivable. So, you go about pretending to yourself and others that you are free when really you are bound.
I know that I lived under a banner of shame before I started on the supernatural ministry school TSM (run at Kings Arms in Bedford) even though I was saved and knew that Jesus had died for me and to cover all the mistakes I had made in my life. I knew that in my head and was so grateful for that. But, I still walked around like I was covered in dirt and if I looked people in the eye they would see the real me and that I was a complete and utter mess still, even though the bible said I was a new creation in Christ, that bit didn’t apply to me obviously.
Shame had kept me trapped believing the lies that I was damaged goods and therefore unacceptable. People wouldn’t want to really be my friend if they knew what I was really like and the things I had done. I saw myself through the eyes of comparison, they were better than me; they had been brought up as a Christian and hadn’t done the things I had done. This also played out with leaders as I felt even worse around them like I would be asked to leave the church if they knew the real me.
The thing about shame is that it affects all areas of your life, in fact I felt like I had somehow allowed shame a ‘backstage pass’ and that it had ‘access all areas’ permission in my life, to go where it wanted, when it wanted and it literally did!
I had absolutely no understanding that I was a daughter of the King in any real sense of the word. Or, that I had a voice that God had given me to share what I felt him saying as I didn’t even recognise that he spoke to me. The enemy was having an absolute field day keeping me quiet without me realising. I had ruled myself out and I felt utterly disqualified and unusable by Papa.
How can God use you when you don’t understand your value or worth?
I thought about my own children and the parenting journey we go on with them through the highs and lows and despite everything how we always see the best in them because we love them SO much. We always want to forgive them when they mess up and choose to love them through some extremely heart-breaking situations at times.
When I consider that and the way we pour out love on our kids, forgive them and want the very best for them the thought of them carrying around shame about the choices they have made would break my heart and I wouldn’t want them to feel this way. Just imagine then how God feels after giving up his only son to cover all the mess we have made and yet we have chosen to not let go of the shame. Or maybe shame hasn’t let go of us!
My own story is a story of amazing breakthrough from shame to freedom and the understanding of my identity as a daughter of the King. My story is mine but God has not limited this freedom from shame to just me it’s for you too.
God is a redeemer who can use what was hidden and the very ‘thing’ they you are most ashamed of can be your biggest asset in the topsy turvy kingdom! How mad is that! The thing that you never wanted to talk about can bring freedom to others as you talk about it.
What have you got hiding today? What is your thing?
He’s calling your name today and that’s after he sees it all. No situation or sin is impossible for God to redeem.
Matt 19:26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
He has made my life a trophy of grace and has redeemed my mess. Redeemed means to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment, which Jesus has paid for us in FULL with his life.
1Cor 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Once you bring the ‘thing’ into the light the power is broken off it. The chains melt away and you can be who you are called to be.
To live shame free we have to be prepared to be vulnerable. But how many of us see vulnerability as a weakness?
I struggled for years with this and in particular crying! I didn’t realise that this was how God had created me and I wasn’t just a cry baby. God actually uses the tears and I am highly sensitive to people’s pain and can empathise with them as I pray for them. But it has held me back whenever I have tried to share at church or pray for people as I would cry and I felt a bit of a joke and it led me to be ashamed of the tears.
But now I don’t live in shame and I know it is a strength and people have thanked me for being courageous in sharing as they feel the emotion and it helps them to connect to what I feel God is saying. There is also power in the compassion because I connect with God’s heart for people when I pray or prophecy over them. I am so happy that God chooses to use me in this way and I will never be ashamed of crying again!
For too long I tried to be someone else and just how exhausting is that! I’ve learnt it’s much easier to be yourself.
I’m reminded of the Prodigal Son and his story of shame but it’s also a story of amazing redemption as he comes home. He was sitting with the pigs eating their food when he came to his senses. As a sin riddled mess he went back to the father. It was risky for him and he had to be vulnerable as he could have been rejected. He took a risk. But the father had been waiting and a soon as he saw him he set off running.
He embraces him and showers him with kisses. He comes running with a ring and a robe.
He didn’t wait, he didn’t hesitate, he threw the robe over him (it didn’t mention a nice hot shower).
So, what awaits you today?
God is waiting with a ring and a robe.
Your redemption story gives glory to the one who wrote it.
Isaiah 44:22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Will you let him re-write your story today?
As I was writing this two songs were playing through my mind and I encourage you to listen to them as they are very powerful.
Come out of Hiding-Steffany Gretzinger
Abba (Arms of the Father) Johnathan and Melissa Helser