It’s funny…when you see the word Shameless, or at least when I do, it has connotations of someone with no moral compass. As if to be free of shame is a bad thing.
Dictionary.com defines shame as: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous,etc., done by oneself or another; susceptibility to this feeling; disgrace; ignominy; a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret.
I don’t know about you, but none of that sounds very appealing to me. I’m not saying, of course, that we shouldn’t be ashamed of poor behavior, in the sense that we recognize that it was a poor choice, and we would be better off to make a better one. No, our behavior matters, our choices matter, and they have consequences. But, so often, it seems that we internalize shame. We gather it up and hold it close as a part of our identity.
You can see this at work, when someone is hesitant to express their desires and their dreams. As children, most of us were dreamers. We could envision ourselves going out and conquering the world in our chosen profession or activity. We freely expressed ourselves and what we liked to do. Until someone says something to belittle those desires or dreams. Because those dreams and desires are such an integral part of who we are, we internalize the message. It’s not just that the dream is unrealistic or that desire isn’t acceptable by our peers or family, but WE are unrealistic and unacceptable.
If any of you have ever heard, “Why can’t you just be more like her/him?” Or “Why can’t you just fit in with the rest of them?” You’ve experienced this at work. Now, I’m not here to cast blame on the people who spoke these things to or over you. By and large, most people do not set out to hurt others. The saying, hurting people hurt people, is a very true statement. People are wounded, and out of their woundedness, they inflict pain on others.
But you have a choice. You can choose to forgive the people who have hurt you and walk forward into freedom, or you can hold on to the pain and the bitterness and all of your wounds. It is easy? No. But it’s possible. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that it was “okay”. No, it fully recognizes the damage that was done, but it sets you free from having to live with it forever. I talk more about forgiveness in this post.
Back to those voices we’ve all heard that make us feel less than. That is shame, and those voices are preventing us from living out our truest identities. These are the thoughts about ourselves that I want us to get rid of. I want us to be shameless in the best way possible: completely and totally free to be all that God created us to be and to do, confident and secure in who we are in Him and on the earth.
So, if you’re ready, and you can hear one of those voices of shame in your head, you can pray this along with me. Fill in the blanks however they apply to your situation. “Father God, I forgive (name the person) for teaching me that (my dream or desire) was (a bad thing, or foolish, or stupid). I renounce the lie that (my dream or desire) is (the bad thing, foolish, stupid, etc.). I accept the truth that (my dream or desire) is something that you created me to be or to do, and you do not make stupid things. Jesus, I give you this shame I’ve felt all this time, and I ask you to show me what you have for me in return.” Wait, watch, and listen to see/hear what He has to say to you. “Thank you, Jesus, for this gift of _____. Shame, I see you, and I refuse to partner with you any more. I renounce any and all agreements that I’ve made with you, and I pull them all out of every part of me. I cast them to the Cross of Jesus, and I place the blood of Jesus between all of that and me. Holy Spirit, please guide me and show me the steps to take so that I can fully be all that you’ve created me to be. Please fill me with your confidence and authenticity and show me the way to be fully free and shameless.”