By Sabrena Stolze, National State Rep Trainer
Shame is a terrible motivator. I have struggled in all areas of self-discipline for most of my life and have unwittingly tried to use shame to motivate myself to change. After 13 years of working the Principles and Steps in Celebrate Recovery, I thought I had let go of my shame, allowing God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness to become my motivators to change, with the Holy Spirit providing the power to do so.
However, the last year of COVID restrictions, resulting in working from home and increased isolation, has challenged me greatly in the area of self-discipline, and I realized there is still work to be done. While I have stepped into God’s grace to a much greater degree than years past, I still judge myself harshly for “what I do not do” rather than rejoicing in who I am in Christ and the accomplishments He gives me each day. Sometimes it’s an accomplishment just getting out of bed or not acting out in addictive, compulsive ways for one more day.
God’s word tells us in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Condemnation refers to accusations from Satan and others. God tells us here that because we are in Christ, no one can accuse us ever again. We are worthy, chosen, forgiven, free.
Shame is the accuser inside of us. Agreeing with those who would condemn us, we condemn ourselves. We choose to believe in opposition to God’s truth, the lie that we are nothing, unworthy, unforgivable.
Rather than motivating change, shame motivates fear that keeps us from our Heavenly Father– the only one who can love and accept us into change.
And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
Just like Adam and Eve, shame keeps us from God. Instead of experiencing freedom, we stay chained in a vicious cycle of shame, remaining stuck in our addictive and compulsive behaviors.
Don’t believe the lies. Inviting shame will not change you. It will only keep you broken. Come back to God, who loves and accepts you, who does not condemn you. Let His Spirit overwhelm you and cover you so that change is possible. Use the tools and others found in Celebrate Recovery to love and support you in the process, as we cannot do it alone.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”