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They are unwelcome, yet nevertheless self-inviting. Ignoring them often feels impossible because of the extended baggage and host of friends they schlep along. And because they lack both in compassion and manners, the host is left exhausted, overwhelmed, and defeated.
Those unwelcome guests? Our thoughts. Thoughts that stay within us staking claim to our souls and labeling them with shame. They push incessantly upon the doors of our minds until, in a moment of overwhelm, we open the doors and let them in.
One after the other. Walking through the corridors of our minds. Wreaking havoc on our hearts. And devastating the truth of our identity.
It’s thoughts that say things like,
What ARE you thinking? You? Don’t be silly!
You aren’t nearly as capable as the others.
Why should anyone listen to what you have to say?
Look at your failures.
Your marriage failed.
Your kids are upset.
You weren’t enough to make it work.
After all, who can you please?
You are a disappointment.
Disliked and unloved.
You are unworthy.
We valiantly try blocking the blows. Looking the other way and finding distraction a momentary reprieve. Maybe if we fill our lives with mile long to-do lists, we can drown out the noise. Then facing the thoughts of condemnation and shame wouldn’t be necessary.
Only somehow the thoughts always seem to get louder than any distraction we create.
And the enemy knows it.
As he celebrates with hands held high. Thumping his chest and shouting loudly. Calling it his win.
Only friends, the noise, the distraction, and the perceived “win” are deception masquerading a truth he doesn’t want us to claim.
You see, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the enemy has not won. He never will. He can thump and cheer all he wants. But he is nothing in comparison to Jesus. Let me repeat that.
He is NOTHING in comparison to Jesus!
Unfortunately, there was a time in my life when I didn’t claim that truth. Fear and shame were my uninvited guests. I didn’t recognize the enemy nor did I know about spiritual warfare. I’d accepted a lie condemning me as forever “not enough”.
As a result, shame decorated the interior of my soul. It directed my life choices and wrote defeat all over my heart.
On the outside I wore it quite well. It appeared as goal oriented, hard-working, and accomplished. Not many knew the woman in front of them didn’t believe in herself, let alone in the power of a great God within her.
My story was mostly hidden. Bits and pieces known to many, yet no one knowing the depths. A product of an emotionally abusive relationship, I’d allowed my identity to bear the reflection of the brokenness of another.
I had yet to look into a mirror and see my true identity.
I’d believed in Jesus, yet I didn’t KNOW Jesus. I didn’t realize He’d died on the cross for more than my salvation. His death was about life on this side of the cross just as much as it was about life on the other side of it!
Healing and the unthreading of shame’s hold over me would only come through this discovery. But it wouldn’t happen overnight. And it wouldn’t one day simply drop into my lap. It took intentionality.
When the uninvited thoughts would say, “I am not good enough.” I’d catch them and replace them with, “I have been chosen and God desires me to bear fruit (John 15:1,5).”
If my thoughts rudely stated, “I am unlovable.” I began replacing it with, “I am chosen and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12).”
Or, when the enemy planted, “I am unforgiveable.” I’d recognize the lie and replace it with the Truth that said, “I am blameless (1 Corinthians 1:8).”
Over and over again I would recognize, trade, and replace. Eventually, change occurred. The uninvited guests began to leave and with them went their baggage. I saw the future anew and lived with a brighter sense of hope. I began discovering my unique gifting and pursuing my God-given purpose.
Friends, I don’t know how the enemy found his way into your life or your thoughts, but I do know the weight of the shame under which you are living. And I know the ache you suffer because of it.
But even more importantly, there’s one more thing I know beyond the shadow of a doubt.
The enemy is a coward clothed in deception and the weapon of Truth makes him run.
Friends, freedom and victory are yours to claim. You are worthy and you have purpose.
Fill every corridor of your mind, heart, and soul with that truth then step out free of shame but in the fullness of victory!
Lori Schumaker is an encourager at heart. There was a day not long ago when she prayed that the Lord would break her heart for what breaks His. Her eyes were opened and her soul was stirred – and sweet offerings of encouragement to others became her purpose. This is the focus of her blog, Searching for Moments, found at www.lorischumaker.com. Join her as she walks beside you through the difficult, lovely, and holy moments of this beautiful thing called life. You can also find her here on social media: Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, Twitter