Thursday, March 10, 2011

Giving Up Shame

I have never been a faithful observer of the Lenten Season. In years past it felt more like a religious ritual - the act of fasting or giving something up for lent - then anything to do with my relationship with God. But this year I can't help but connect the place that I am in my recovery journey with the observance of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

Reflecting on and letting go of past baggage.

Repenting of our sins has gotten a bad rap over the years. I'm beginning to understand the deeper reason God says to come to him and confess. The bad choices I have made certainly come as no surprise to Him. He doesn't need me to tell him about them. He already knows.

Nor does he simply want to rub my nose in it. As if some sort of aversion therapy is necessary to bring about my redemption. His word tells me if I am weak and weary to come to Him and rest. No condemnation.

No, I see now that it is not for Gods benefit, this thing called repentance, it is for my own - for as long as I am unwilling to name it, it holds a secret power over me. That power is called shame.

Just as I cannot stuff my feelings - it is necessary for me to feel them and acknowledge them in order to let them go - I cannot stuff my sin and expect to be free.

This year I have decided to give up something for Lent. I am giving up shame. 

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" ~Isaiah 58:6


  1. Isaiah 58:9 "If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness..."
    Oh Crystal, how often that pointing of the finger is aimed at ourselves, and the wickedness we speak is within our own minds and hearts against ourselves. I saw this several years ago, but have to admit I am still struggling to walk it out. I have to say I love this idea of giving up shame for Lent and beyond... Thank you. Bless you.

  2. How true and what a lovely and meaningful post for Lent. Thank you, friend!

  3. This is a beautiful post..Your words are so honest and true. Thank you for sharing this..

  4. This is beautifully said. What a great take!

  5. you are prayed for & supported, i've been through it myself. :)

  6. Lovely post and sacrifice. I don't do guilt anymore and now perhaps I need to work on shame. Thank you.

  7. you have no idea how much i see myself in your post.
    i'm going to try this giving up shame for Lent.
    And, not only for Lent. It is my hope that Lent will give me the time to perfect my loss of shame for a lifetime.
    For, with God's help, anything is possible.
    Thanks, honey, for your beautiful post.
    I love you, Jan

  8. Thank you so Crystal for sharing this. I share your struggles in this area. I am studying Isaiah in BSF this year which has been a wonderful study revealing so much about God's character. His provision for rescue and renewal is declared in Isiah 43:25 "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." What a promise!! God sends renewal and comfort to those who come to Him im repentence of sin and trust in Him. Thank you for reminding us of this through your post.

  9. brave girl! powerful words we all need to hear, never more true as we approach easter. thank you for being a light in the dark places. xoxo

  10. recently i read a quote taken from a "sineater" of an ancient profession in olde England.he was actually a shaman healer with herbs.He said guilt is when the soul is not following their soul's misssion of life and shame is the
    imposition from others of their own guilt onto the patient. the book was Plant Spirit Shamans

  11. Well said! I never give up anything for Lent. I don't believe this is what the season is about.

    It is more about inner-reflection, thankfulness for His abounding grace, and hope for the future.

  12. Anonymous12:07 PM

    Beautifully put. This is truly wisdom.

  13. wow, this post really speaks to me.

    I love your work. I love encaustics. I haven't taken the leap to work with them yet tho.

    I'll admire for now.

    Best, Ellen

  14. Awesome beautiful and true! We all carry our own set of baggage, and it feels like such a release to hand it all over to God.