Man, oh man. Shame. What a dirty word, huh?
It has the power to bind us, to quiet us, to cause us to back away in fear. The more we keep the parts of us we're ashamed of to ourselves, the more they eat away at us & cause us to become people we were not created to be. Ultimately, shame keeps us from living our lives out loud for God.
Shame has crept into my life recently in a place that has been somewhat unexpected...my volleyball career. When people used to ask me about my athletic accolades in the past, I would happily recall my accomplishments & easily offer up stories of the past.
However, in the past year or so, I have found myself unwilling to talk about my past with volleyball on any sort of deep level. "I played in college at Indiana University," is just about all I am willing to offer up. Going into any more detail makes me extremely uncomfortable & causes me to feel very prideful/vain, which in turn brings on the shame.
I certainly struggle with accomplishments and recognition & how those things pair with my faith. Boasting, pride & vanity are not things I want to be known for. I don't want my accomplishments, blessings or personality to point to me, but rather, I want all things to point to God.
So instead of sharing my story & testimony (much of which involves volleyball), I keep it in & chalk it up to being humble. Basically y'all, I rename my shame as humility. And at the same time, while thinking I am doing what God wants me to do by being "humble," I am not sharing the incredible ways he has worked in me & through me. Not to mention, I am missing out on opportunities to share my testimony & use the gifts He has given me to live more fully for Him.
So here's what I have found through being vulnerable with you in this space - shame brings fear, fear causes us to be someone we're not & when we're not who we were created to be, we're missing out on what God has set before us (and so is everyone else!).
BUT, if we choose to be vulnerable & share our shames - which will take courage (take that fear) - we tell shame to take a hike. Then, and only then, are we able to be who God created us to be & do the things He wants us to do in order to build His beautiful kingdom.
So sister, above all else, I want you to know there is NO SHAME in who God made you to be & what He will allow you to do. Please don't hide your light because of shame, because as Matthew 5:16 says:
"Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
So Let That Light Shine Sister!