Today we are starting a new series here on the blog: From Glory to Glory: Renewal Through Christ. With spring finally in the air, I am anxious to discuss the renewal that is continuously taking place when we belong to Him. We will be talking about five different areas where we experience this: in ourselves, in our strength, in dreams and passions, in hope and in Spirit. I hope you will enjoy the next two weeks as I introduce you to some of my favorite writers who will be diving into these topics with us.
I will be kicking things off with a post about the area of rebirth which essential to all of the others: the rebirth of self.
From Shame to Rebirth
When your child tells you he’s having difficulty breathing, panic immediately sets in.
Your mind calculates the miles to the nearest hospital. You visualize where the epi-pen is and estimate how quickly you can administer it.
Every sound your child makes sends you further down a trail of endless “what ifs.”
My son has food allergies. Three nights ago, he had a reaction to something we are still trying to identify. And the conjecture and guessing about what caused the episode are killing me.
As a mother and a recovering perfectionist, I defined my maternal roles a long time ago. The way I perceive it, one of my primary responsibilities is to protect my child. When I think that I’ve failed in doing so, I feel shame.
I’m taken back to the days following our release from the hospital. To the days when it seemed as though the crying would never stop.
I am not a woman who instantly felt that maternal instinct after my first child was born. For me, the process was slow, like breaking muscle. It was painful and tedious during the first months.
And because it didn’t feel right, shame was my constant companion. I reasoned that I’d made a mistake in my decision to become a mom. I thought perhaps my son would be better off with someone else.
It’s a dark place, isn’t it? Shame can take what should be some of the most joyful moments in our lives and turn them into something dreadful and ugly.
When we live in shame, we witness accidents which are completely beyond our ability to control, but believe that we are somehow responsible. We step outside of God’s grace, into the unknown, and are crushed when even our best efforts don’t seem to measure up.
We forget that if God intended us to be perfect, his death on the cross wouldn’t have been necessary. We forget that when we are in Christ, we are a new creation, free from the law of sin and death.
Shame says that Christ’s perfect and complete death on the cross isn’t enough.
Jesus said, “It is finished.” Shame says, “Try harder.”
Do you know where trying harder takes you? Into an endless cycle of self-doubt, indecisiveness, and sleepless nights. It takes you further away from the loving embrace of a God who gave up everything to call you his own.
As I sat in the ER with my son that night following his allergic reaction, do you know what the doctor said to my husband and me?
“You two are very competent parents. Not everyone would have reacted as quickly as you did.”
He saw what I didn’t. He knew that things happen which are beyond our ability to control.
Like so many of the moms who helped me navigate the first years of my son’s life, that doctor helped me realize perfection was not only an impossible standard, but a burdensome one. It’s weight was bringing me to a place God never intended me to be.
If you have made Jesus Christ Lord of your life, you are a new creation. The old is gone; the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You don’t have to keep running on the endless treadmill of striving for perfection. You don’t have to live in the continuous valley of shame when you realize that ideal is impossible.
For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:11 ESV
All you have to do is accept the free gift that’s been given to you. When we live in his love, it permeates and radiates out through us. Instead of being caught in the slavery of legalism, we are governed by the beauty of grace.
Step off the treadmill and into grace today. Put on the victor’s clothes that have been waiting for you all along.