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December 27, 2021

How to Get out of Our Own Way—& Let go of Shame.

 

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“The longer you entertain what’s not for you, the longer you postpone what is.” ~ Unknown

 

Those words hit me. I wonder where I would be with my life right now had I not held on so long to the things not meant for me.

I wholeheartedly believe in God’s perfect timing, but I also think that I royally screw up his plan for me a lot. I get in his way and my own all the time. This “free will” thing is tricky. Not that it’s all bad. I hold on to hope, which is a positive thing. But sometimes, it’s false hope.

We think we can change people. We internalize every heartbreak, every unrequited love, and every time trust is broken, when we have no control over any of it. We make it about ourselves. Why weren’t we enough? What should we have done differently?

Reality check: it’s not about us.

I have begun to realize that it’s not about me. It’s out of my hands, so I have to stop grasping for control. The more we hold on to, the more space we fill with things that don’t serve us, leaving little room for the things that will. We keep adding more unnecessary baggage when we should be dropping it.

We reach, chase, and hunger for more, more, more. We want what we can’t have and sometimes substitute it for what we can temporarily get by with—more “junk” piling on—more picking up what we should be putting down.

Not only do we fill ourselves up with hurtful untruths (because we are our own worst bullies), but the temporary fixes leave us with shame and regret. We need to drop (and stomp on) all of the hurtful self-talk once and for all, because they are lies.

When we fill our brains with these lies and negative thoughts, the enemy rejoices, and we continue the pattern of hurting ourselves over and over. We create our own hell here on Earth. We might as well toss the key to the chains that hold us back from finding what is meant to be ours.

We feel unworthy, so we live unworthily. We allow disrespect, abandon our integrity, and break our hearts repeatedly. Why? Because we think we deserve it.

One thing I am always working on is believing that I am enough.

Because whenever my heart hurts, I wonder why I wasn’t enough. And when, when will I be enough?

It’s the little dark place I go to when I need to be pitiful and self-loathing for a minute. The enemy thrives when I go to this dark place. Shame is his strongest weapon, and he wants me to stay deep down in the pits because he knows what might happen if I let the light in.

I could be a force to reckoned with. I could be happy and share that light, which is why I share my truth. I believe that there is a reason for everything. God knew the tribulations I would face and has armed me with everything I needed to get to the other side of it.

What has happened to me, what made me stay in the dark places for so long happened, so I could help someone else make it through. I firmly believe that. I know that God doesn’t make mistakes, yet shame has held me back from living in that truth.

The common theme in my past self-esteem and self-worth issues stems from shame, which holds true for most people. I am self-deprecating, too, as a defense mechanism, because why not make it funny?

As I get older, the more humorous it all becomes anyway. That is the best part about aging. I get over things quickly and realize more and more every day all of the ridiculous nonsense that genuinely doesn’t matter. I can be bullied, called names, gossipped about, and hated, and I no longer lose sleep.

But when it comes to love and accepting that it’s time to move on is usually a tough pill to swallow. It’s not because I need to be with someone. But because I need to know that I am worthy of love. I always hold on for too long. And in doing so, the weight of rejection becomes unbearably heavy.

In our most formative years, trauma lays the groundwork for what we believe about ourselves. As a child, it made me feel so damaged and worthless. Survival mode took over, leaving me in the prison I created for myself. Shame had me locked up. Shame delayed my happiness. It can affect future generations if we don’t break the cycle.

Our worth doesn’t come from other people. What others might think or say about us should have no bearing on our love for ourselves. Just like we can’t change the outcome of a failed relationship, we cannot change what someone might choose to believe about us. With age, the desire to be liked starts to diminish, opening more space for authenticity and living unapologetically. That is something we can control.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of apologizing for who I am or who I’m not. I’m me. A million puzzle pieces, some black and some colorful, but all put together perfectly by God. The same God who gave us his son to set us free from shame. If we could only stop doubting his work. If we could only purge all of the lies of the enemy that have become so deeply embedded in our souls. Luckily for all of us, we have a rescuer specializing in saving souls.

I will always be a work in progress. There will still be hurts, aches, and pains. But I choose to see them as growing pains, which means I am moving forward. It’s much easier to stay complacent and comfortable, but it won’t change the result. We have to move. We have to grow. We have to fight back against the mindset that tells us we don’t deserve good things.

No matter what has happened years ago, or even yesterday, we are made new with each sunrise. God doesn’t hold on to our past, so why should we? It serves no purpose other than tearing us down.

If for a moment, we can take our feelings out of the picture and imagine God as being the artist who is molding us, we can have faith in what he sees in us. He sees his perfect treasure. He created us, exactly how we are. And he loves us more than anyone could ever know. He doesn’t make mistakes. He keeps teaching us and stitching us back together in a way that he knows we need.

If we could only trust him and accept his love, we would never feel unworthy again and navigate each hurt with optimism that there is a greater purpose. This is temporary. If we trust in Him, this is all worth it.

So we need to get out of our own way. Stop believing the deceiver. No matter what we’ve done in the past or what has happened to us, it is laid to rest on the ocean floor. How can we ever find peace when our minds are diluted with such disdain for ourselves? Not only does that significantly hurt our creator, who took such time and care with us, but it hurts us in ways we don’t even realize.

We can say “what if” about every possible outcome. “What if” is a limitation. Just as God’s love for us is limitless, so too is our ability to make peace with ourselves and live in freedom.

When darkness creeps in, we need to take a stand against it. We need to look at ourselves with new eyes (the way God looks at us) so that we can see the beautifully flawed and imperfect humans we are meant to be. And love ourselves even more because of it.

~

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