Actually, this photograph was taken at Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest fort in North America (which we visited yesterday). These are the beds that the soliders slept on. Ooh…I have NOTHING to complain about sleeping on the beds provided at our condo! LOL! Nevertheless, it is astonishing to me how much I feel thrown off by some things. The bed I am sleeping on here in Ormond Beach, Florida is certainly not the comfy one I enjoy at home, but this is the least of the ways in which the world is different for me here.
On this side of the country, the sun rises over the ocean. It is very confusing for this West Coast gal. And as we drove south on the coastal highway yesterday afternoon, the ocean was on my left, but the sun was lowering on the right. This just seemed…well, wrong!
Not only that, but, yesterday evening, when we went down to the beach to collect shells, the fog rolled in quickly. Rather than being frozen from an instant drop in temperature as I would be in northern California (fog = cold), I was amazed at how warm this fog was!
Pizza Hut restaurants still exist here (they are almost “extinct” in California) and the prices are relatively CHEAP! WOW!
This really does feel like another world to me here. Nothing is the same as it is at home.
Except for one thing…one thing is very familiar to me and even that one thing had been gone for so long even back at home.
On this vacation, as with any vacation, the cameras are out and always going. It has been a few years since I have felt the presence of the monkey that is on my back now. Even so, I don’t think I wouldn’t have recognized its presence had it not been for a comment made by one of my family members (who didn’t mean any harm, but whose comment struck me very deeply and profoundly). During a “photo op” I was strategically trying to negotiate where I would stand and one of my family members said, “We are back to hiding again?” regarding my intention. OUCH. That stung! But what bothered me most wasn’t the comment, but was, instead, the truth of it. You see, hiding means that shame has re-entered the picture and although that doesn’t surprise me entirely, I noticed almost a desperation…to hide at all costs. My reaction to the comment spoke volumes, too. That I felt like I had been caught with my “pants down” if you will.
I believe with all my heart that shame is not of God. Shame is a general feeling that I am unlovable, unworthy, not esteemed…it typically comes with despair, a desire to “hide” and this is just for starters. I believe that shame breeds more sin and can cause a horrible sin-shame-sin-shame cycle that is, in fact, at the root of addictions. The way to break this cycle is to step into the light very intentionally. It is to declare the truth and know that the truth sets one free. So often, however, we flee the light instead…and the Enemy of our souls laughs with glee!
Conviction, on the other hand, is specific and is from the Lord. There is a sense that I can take care of business by confessing the specific sin about which I am convicted and a confidence that God has provided a means for my forgiveness and esteems me as precious to him. There is hope. There is no need to hide.
My family member said something that God used to sound a wake up call. Although posting here at the blog honestly about my struggles was done in obedience to the Lord and an attempt to refuse to be bound by the darkness of shame, somehow I had allowed the mentality “I must hide”–a mentality I lived with for far too long–to be re-established.
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.Psalm 34:4-6
Now that I am aware of this, I will be pro-active. I will stand confident of my Lord, His love for me, His justification of me and the fact that He who knew no sin became sin for us so that in Him I might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
How about you? Are you allowing shame to define you? Are you willing to step out of the darkness of shame and allow the truth to set you free? Look up the following verses and prayerfully journal about each regarding the place shame should have in the lives of believers now:
Psalm 25:2-4, 20-21
Lord, help us not to remain in the place of shame and darkness where sin breeds yet more sin. Instead, help us to step into the light, confident of your forgiveness and your healing. Help us not to revert to old familiar behaviors, but, instead to live in the freedom you have purchased for us. You came to free us from sin and to give us life abundant. Help us to live our inheritance today. In the precious Name of Jesus, Amen.