Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: guilt

The Truth About Shame

I have a confession to make. I am twenty-three years old, and am just learning how to drive. It’s a huge victory in my battle with a chronic illness that prevented me from driving. But it’s also a struggle.

Learning to drive isn’t easy–at least not for me (and not for the poor souls who help me practice). And to be honest, it makes me anxious. Though I am getting better with every lesson, I still feel a terrible, self-defeating feeling that shrouds me in darkness.

I’m talking about shame.

The Poison of Shame

Merriam-Webster defines shame as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.” This feeling, lovely reader, is the weapon the devil uses to try and condemn us.

It’s normal and healthy to feel guilty when one does something wrong.  Guilt can lead us to repentance, which then sets us free. It’s also normal to feel insecure, which again, can also be freeing when we learn to seek our worth in Christ.

But what about that feeling of condemnation, no matter how many times you repent? What about that feeling of not being good enough, no matter how hard you try?

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14 NIV)

Shame is a poison that seeps into our lives even when we are born again in Christ. We have to remember that we are dead to sin, and that Christ nailed all condemnation to the cross. It’s not our sin that makes us feel condemned, but the shame that the enemy uses to make us believe we are separated from God.

The Power of the Cross

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

As a Christian, I have heard the story of the cross countless times. But what really makes me understand Christ’s sacrifice is watching a movie or reenactment of the crucifixion. Then I can clearly see the shame Jesus bore while he was mocked, stripped, and beaten–all alone.

And guess what? He did it for me, and He did it for you! Our God chose to take on human form in order to understand the temptations we face and the struggles we battle. Though Jesus knew no sin, He did know our shame. And He took it upon Himself in order to free us and bring us eternal joy.

Freedom from Shame

‘“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.’ (Isaiah 54:4 NIV)

We all make mistakes. We all have our weaknesses and failures.  And we all sin–no matter how hard we try not to. It’s part of the human condition. The good news is that we can always run to Jesus for forgiveness and freedom.

shame is a lie

I know that I’m not perfect, and that learning to drive, like all things, takes patience. Although at times I may fail, I know that God always brings good out of the bad.

Jesus is the fresh start from our past mistakes. He is our joy and strength, despite our human weakness. Jesus is our freedom from sin and the shame that binds us. 

The truth about shame is that it’s a lie. A lie meant to steal, kill, and destroy God’s precious children. But we have access to the only antidote on earth–the powerful and freeing truth of the love of Jesus.


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Once Was Enough

My hands cramp up as I

Knit stitch after stitch,

Trying to form the perfect tapestry

Out of an imperfect heart.

It never ends

This cloak of guilt.

Day after day I punch the sky,

Trying to find a way out

A way to freedom.

 

My legs are on fire as I

Run in staggered steps,

My lungs constricted by the winter chill.

I don’t know what I’m running from,

But I can feel the weight of it

Reaching for me like a dense fog.

Day after day I collapse into its dark embrace,

Wondering if there’s a way out

A  way to deliverance.

 

Always I try

To do more good.

To beat the pressure

Of a soul that’s constantly thirsty.

 

Always I try

To fix each stitch.

To pull together

The yarns of my sin.

 

Always I try

To run a little farther.

To leave behind

My ghost stained past.

 

But the yarn is cold and metallic,

A binding chain wrapped around my wrists.

I’m running around in circles,

But getting nowhere.

 

And that’s when You lift up my face,

Reaching for my hands as my fingers

Slip through the holes in Your palms.

 

And that’s when You smile

With blood cracked skin,

Revealing the burden You’ve chosen to carry.

 

And  that’s when I set

My needles down.

The chains breaking

As the yarn of rituals unravel.

 

And that’s when my feet

Come to a stand still.

My breath coming back in waves

As I inhale the present.

 

And that’s when I see

The cross in the thicket

Of my messy life.

 

I drop to my knees knowing that

Once was enough.

 

You’ve always been enough.

 

Written by Emily Susanne at fearfullywonderfullyme.com, 2016 ©


This is actually a poem that I am working on for my creative writing class. I wanted to share it with you, lovely reader, because I know what it’s like to struggle with guilt from the past. 

Sin has a way of trapping and isolating us. Even our well-intended mistakes as Christians can make us feel separated from God.

But God is a loving Father. You don’t have to keep trying to make up for your past sins. You don’t have to keep punishing yourself for your past.

Jesus died for your sins and faults. He was mocked, beaten, scourged, humiliated, and nailed to a cross to take YOUR place.  Why did He do this? Because God loves you. He loves you so much that He would, and has, gone to the most extreme measure to set you free.

It only took one sacrifice by our God on the cross to set us free. Once was enough. Now walk in this love.

 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:14 NIV).


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The Lie of the Good Enough Christian

Most of the time my Instagram feed is filled with posts about fashion and food (which are two things  I am very passionate about). However, there are posts that really make you stop and think wow, I really needed that.

I wanted to share one of these posts from @cultureandgod with you today.

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Do you ever feel like God is unapproachable? Maybe you’ve repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Now what? How do I become a good enough Christian? How do I prove myself worthy to God?

The simple truth is that you can’t. Sorry to all of my fellow recovering perfectionists out there, but you will never be  good enough to earn salvation. None of us are.

That’s okay, Jesus has us covered. When you realized He died on the cross for you and accepted His Lordship, you were washed in His blood. God no longer sees your sins. When He looks at you, He sees you through the eyes of perfect love.

 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13 NKJV).

Isn’t that freeing? You don’t have to perform or try to earn God’s love. He’s already defeated sin and death. That just really amazes me. I don’t need to be a good enough Christian because I have a better than life Savior!

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV).

Maybe you’re a new Christian, or maybe you’ve been a part of God’s family for decades. Wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, remember that you are now resurrected with Him.

God’s salvation power did not stop at the cross. He conquered the grave–which includes all of the chains that once held you and me back from Him.

You, my lovely reader, can be free from the chains of shame and perfectionism. Just lean on the only God who gave His perfect self in order to win His precious child back.


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Guilt vs Grace

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Photo by Ellen Salisbury

Thanks so much for your patience dear followers and readers! My blog schedule is a little messed up because I have been struggling with my health these past few weeks. Thank you for your support and prayers! 

Grace. It’s amazing isn’t it? At least that’s what we always sing in church or at a funeral. However, there are so many Christians who are strangers to the freeing beauty of God’s never ending grace.

Sometimes it seems that the devil will stop at nothing to keep us from the flood of grace that comes from knowing Jesus. I know that I’ve written about my perfectionist nature quite a few times and how it gets me into trouble. Lately I’ve been on a streak of self-condemnation that’s leaving me anxious and a little depressed.

Obviously things are already hard enough as I try to find ways to cope with my IBS and low blood pressure, but adding feelings of inadequacy on top of that only makes things a hundred times worse.

The thing is I am not perfect, and I won’t ever be until I make it to heaven or when Jesus comes back. The only thing perfect about me is Jesus–whose blood has washed me clean of all my sin. Nothing I do can separate me from Him. As long as I believe that He died for my sins, I am saved. And this doesn’t just go for me, but for everyone in the world!

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 NKJV).

There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. There is nothing we have to do to keep our salvation either (aside from faith). I guess sometimes I run around afraid that if I screw up (which I will), then God will turn His back on me and revoke my salvation. This sounds silly even as I write it, but I know I’m not alone. There’s a lot of guilty Christians out there.

I was watching a sermon from Joseph Prince recently, and what he said really ministered to me. This is a preacher who really pours the grace of God out in his sermons. He talked about how when we think our sins can take away our salvation, then we really think that the curse of Adam is stronger than the sacrifice of Jesus!

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that nothing is more powerful than God. The death and resurrection of Jesus can’t be undone. This is the Gospel. 

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12 NKJV).

Now of course this isn’t some excuse to just go about sinning like it’s no problem. On the contrary, once you experience the love and grace of Jesus Christ you don’t want to sin. You want to give up your old ways to become more like Jesus.

Now that we have learned about God’s grace, let us bask in it! Turn from your sinful ways, and let God surround you with the grace that truly is amazing.

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Walk the Line–A Story of Redemption

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(Image from Polyvore)

In Monday’s first post, I wrote about the movie Walk the Line (2005), while focusing on the love story between Johnny Cash and June Carter. This was an important element of the film. The unwavering commitment and grace Johnny and June had for each other can be seen as a metaphor for the love and loyalty God has toward His children.

Another major theme to this movie and the life of Johnny Cash is redemption. Although Johnny rose to fame and helped revolutionize music, he struggled deeply with drug addiction and a haunting past.

Like a lot of us, Johnny Cash had a troubled childhood. His family was poor and lived during the Great Depression. His older brother Jack died while he was young from a tragic accident at a sawmill. Johnny felt tremendous guilt and shame, which led him on a quest for music fame, and ultimately addiction.

I think we can all identify with Johnny Cash’s struggles. I can’t tell you how many Christians struggle with guilt and shame, but I bet it’s a lot more than half of us. I know I do–I am guilty of being guilty. Some of it is for past mistakes and sins, which I know is silly because the Bible says if I repent then I know I am forgiven (1 John 1:19).

I can also identify with Johnny Cash because I often feel guilty for things that are beyond my control. I suffered from verbal and physical abuse in my childhood by my father, and it took a toll. I love him, but he chose his feelings over my own. To this day he still puts some of the blame on me for not “letting it all go” and moving forward.

I did forgive him, and sometimes I find myself needing to forgive him more than once. However, I must put boundaries between us for my well-being and safety. I have told him this. I have also told him how to make me feel more safe. Here’s the thing that I am slowly learning: you can’t change people. You cannot make someone get help for his/her problems or take responsibility.

And you know what? We are not called to do that. We are only called to love them. I love my father very much. He is not a monster, but he has issues that prevent me from having much of a relationship with him. I pray for him everyday and have tried giving him encouragement.

Of course all situations are different. I am in no way telling you what to do if you have been a victim of abuse (and if you are, please get help from a trusted professional or counselor). In fact, this post really isn’t about my issues with my father.

This post is about redemption. I know that God can redeem my hurts and use them for good. In fact, the struggles and pain that I have faced have made me a better writer. And you know what? If I hadn’t gone through everything that I had gone through in my youth, then maybe I wouldn’t have found my way to Jesus.

We all go through things and struggle with sins, but we can still be forgiven! God can still take our situation and redeem us from our old broken lives. Redemption isn’t always a one time thing either. The more I read about Johnny Cash, the more I see how he had to go to rehab many times in his life for his addiction. He chose to let God work in him.

I’m also choosing to let God work in my life. I’m choosing to surrender my sin, my guilt, and my shame to Him. I’m choosing to give up all that I can’t control to the one who created the universe. I am choosing life, and I will keep choosing it everyday I’m allowed to walk on this planet. This is only the beginning of my story of redemption.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful (Revelation 21:5 KJV).

 

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