A Beautiful Shame

I was out to lunch with a friend not too long ago.
It was one of those perfect days, where the air was sweet, and the breeze was blowing just right. It was a day that seemed to carry itself with an effortless sense of peace, and sustained pleasure. I love days like that, because they never seem to develop as the result of planned action, you just seem to find yourself in them.

We were trying to be good, but on a day like this, we had to celebrate. So naturally, we went to a great burger restaurant. The hostess kindly sat us, and eventually our waiter appeared. He had an older but gentle voice, and when he handed us our menus I could see that his hands looked worn and a bit sun stained. When I looked up to greet him, I noticed that his face looked familiar, but a little warped from the one I remembered. Eventually, I realized that he was the father of a childhood friend of mine. We had known him to always be a successful businessman, and a great family man. I saw that he didn’t have a ring on his finger. When I made contact with his tired blue eyes, he recognized me. At that moment, he exerted a vibe that was so palpable; it felt like a punch to the chest.Through the cadence of his voice and the look on his face, one thing become so painfully clear. He was ashamed. He was ashamed that he was there and ashamed that one of his son’s friends had seen him like, “this”. He immediately went on a small rant telling us why he was working here, and how he had to get an extra job to help pay the bills, even though we didn’t ask.

Shame has a way of leaping out of a person’s very demeanor, forcing the recipient to scramble for a proper way to respond. During the course of the meal, I couldn’t help but to think that this issue was becoming an epidemic in our culture these days. Not for the obvious reason of inadequate jobs and slim opportunities, but with the feeling of being ashamed, itself. The causes can be many; An eating problem, a failed relationship, joblessness, addiction, feeling stuck- All of which can make us not want to be seen, heard, or spoken to. We’ve all been there. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had my own; “I don’t want someone to see me like this moment”, because I felt so unhappy, so useless… so down.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt so disheartened because of the way you looked or felt, you couldn’t hold a stare at the person looking back at you?

If it’s shame you may feel, please don’t try and numb yourself from the pain of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. Numbing yourself can propel you to a place so far away from where you want to be. A place if occupied to long, can lead to a situation where you won’t even recognize the person you’re running from.

Instead, be honest about how you feel, express the hurt that is inside of you, so God can move like only He can. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

One translation says, “…. for my power comes into its own” meaning it’s in weakness where my power feels most comfortable.

Breakthrough happens in the moments of honest weakness.

No matter to what degree to the shame you may feel, first know that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. You are special, talented, and gifted. God chose to give you certain things that he didn’t give to anyone else. He’s already granted you everything you need to feel that sense of certainty, now you just have to accept it. Release and accept so you can move forward in the season that you are in.

“But this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” Phil 3:13


The next time feelings of inadequacy return; try asking these 3 questions:

What can I be proud of right now?

What can I be grateful for right now?

What can I believe in right now?


2 thoughts on “A Beautiful Shame

  1. Ahhh Justin. I love hearing that you are doing this! I remember the days in college when we were neighbors and the conversations we would get into. You truly have a profound gift for encouragement and depth of insight. Blessing others with the Love and Truth of God is something you do very well- so glad to see you using it so directly as a career. Much love.

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