As I reflect upon my testimony and as I outline in my mind those series of messages to share in the future, one theme has been a constant at each step: shame.
Before I was a believer in Christ…. shame.
After I became a believer in Christ seven years ago… shame.
Still to this day… shame.
Shame at who I was before I accepted Christ, shame at the mistakes that I still make…
I’ve struggled with this… my self-worth and my self-confidence. The majority of the time, I feel inadequate, unworthy, and unlovable. Maybe you’ve been there too. Maybe you’re in the same place right now.
If you’re right there with me in this place of shame, I hope you hear the message that God has for us today. Because God has been “working a number on me” as we say in the South.
So, across seven years, Jesus has been working on the sins that characterize my life, but more recently the shame that I feel… the shame that I have worn as a label… the shame that has held me back… the shame that has left me dejected. And His working is finally coming to a head.
He’s helping me conquer fears in my life… like traveling by airplane… like facing situations alone… like trusting others with my heart and my love… like trusting that I can be wiped clean of my shame… that since Jesus washed away my sins with His blood, that I don’t have to feel shame anymore.
I love listening to podcasts. I recently switched to Apple products, and my favorite part has been the podcasts. I subscribed to Elevation Church, and while every message has been profound and has impacted my life, the recent series [Savage Jesus] has spoken to my heart… piercing through to the issues that I’ve carried since I was a young girl.
In the Savage Jesus series, Pastor Micahn Carter was a guest speaker, but he spoke in his message, Throw It Off, about Mark 10:46-52 which tells the story of a blind beggar. Please, if you have the time, click the link above and listen to the message as well as the link to the Scripture. I promise you will not regret it.
But Pastor Micahn is speaking about this blind beggar, Bartimaeus, and he made some points that struck a chord with me. His message showed me that I am just like blind Bartimaeus… begging for someone to take away my shame. Day in and day out, I hold out my beggar’s cup and hope that someone will give me validation… hoping that someone will speak words that will lift my spirits.
And people do. There are many people in my life who love me dearly, who speak words that encourage and uplift me, people who make my world a better place.
But they’re not God.
And so after the validation has passed… after the words have been spoken and time passes by… I find myself needing to beg again for fresh validation and fresh encouraging words and fresh acceptance.
When I should be begging for God.
Satan doesn’t mind when I beg my family or my friends or my coworkers for validation and acceptance as long as I’m not begging God for those same things. Satan wants me in this broken state because he knows that when I’m whole… when Jesus truly makes me whole from this brokenness… that I can share my story. And then I can help other broken people understand that only Jesus can fix them… and they will experience healing as well.
Pastor Micahn’s first point was “throw off the crowd.”
For me, that means getting rid of relationships in my life who put me down, who remind me of my past, who continue this cycle of shame. What people are holding you back in a broken state? Throw them off!
His second point was “throw off the coat.” The coat that he is referencing is the beggar’s coat. It was issued by the government and certified him as a beggar.
In my life, I could be “certified” as many things… but I’m certified for certain in putting myself down… in being my worst critic… in not believing in myself… in continuing this cycle of shame. God’s Word says that
“Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus” (v. 50).
When I read that verse, I heard God say, Macey, throw off your shame. I took care of that on the cross. When you accepted salvation, I washed your sins away. You have no reason to feel shame anymore because I took that shame upon Myself… and I took care of it.“
So, I won’t let Satan keep me in this state of shame…. feeling as if I have nothing to contribute that is good and worthy. I won’t let the words of Satan and the world that are spoken over me dictate who I am anymore.
Lastly, Pastor Micahn said “throw the cup while you’re at it.”
Macey, begging for all of these people to take away your shame with their validation, their encouraging words will not satisfy in the end. Throw away the cup and turn to Me.
Whatever you’re struggling with today, throw it off. Turn to Jesus. Let us all be like Bartimaeus for…
“The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.'” (v. 51b)
Jesus, help us to see ourselves the way that You see us. Personally, I struggle with shame and feelings of inadequacy and feelings of unworthiness. I struggle with thinking that I will not be a good wife someday or a good mother someday because of my past. I struggle with thinking that I’m not a good friend or a good daughter. I have sought validation in each of these areas by craving acceptance from family, friends, and others so that I will feel adequate and worthy. Oh, Lord, let me see. Let me see that these methods will not work. Let me see, instead, how You see me. Your Word says that You rejoice over me with singing, that you called me beloved, that you died a cruel death to ensure that my shame was taken away. Oh, Rabbi, I want to see.