I have failed more times than I would like to remember. I have lost jobs, ruined relationships & pastored badly. I have failed God, messed up in marriage, made mistakes with my children & let down dear friends.
Failing feels awful. It is like a punch in the guts that leaves you reeling. It can rock your confidence and make you angry with yourself and others. But that’s not all. All too often, failure leaves us feeling horribly ashamed of ourselves.
NOW THAT’S A PROBLEM
Shame is not like other emotions. Although feelings like loss or sadness hurt, they are relatively easy to admit. Shame is so uncomfortable that we usually try to turn away from the experiences that made us feel so bad.
Because it is so distressing, we normally deny shame’s impact in our lives. After being turned down for an important promotion, we tell people we didn’t want the job anyway. We might slow down our applications or give up altogether.
If you tripped on a first attempt at public speaking, you may pretend it didn’t matter, but you would be unlikely to try again. Shame works in the shadows, secretly seeking to derail or delay our destinies. It wants us to hide, give up or at least slow down.
In our social media society, we are bombarded by images of everyone else’s successes. In the light of their stories, it is easy to feel like a flop. There are times that I have opened Facebook in an upbeat mood. However, I might go back to work discouraged.
The achievements of others can make our status quo seem substandard. We can end up being embarrassed about our own progress. Shame tries to make you feel less valuable than those who seem more successful. It wants you to think you’re inadequate.
The problem can then be compounded. Proverbs 23:7 explains that your view of yourself affects how your life turns out: “… as a man thinks in his heart so is he…” The more I look down upon myself, the more I limit my chances of breaking out of negative cycles.
EXPOSING THE ENEMY
Shame always has an aim. It wants us to hide, quit or at least slow down. That is why we must deal with every mark it has made on our lives. I think we need to call time on shame. The first step is bringing those horrible feelings into the light.
Eph 5:13 (Passion) says, “Whatever the revelation-light exposes, it will also correct & everything that reveals truth is light to the soul.” If you realise you are ashamed in any way, talk to God in prayer. That’s the first step to freedom.
Failure is just one cause of shame. Others include humiliation, rejection, disappointment, poverty, guilt, & abuse. Get my new book The Many Faces of Shame & allow God to eliminate this enemy from your life. Pre-order from the UK here & from the US here.
A TOUCH OF HIS SPIRIT
I am excited about the way God is about to move! Fixing the Foundations UK is going to be incredible. God will heal hidden relationship hurts and bring a fresh touch of His Spirit. And don’t miss the next Healed for Life near you.