This is the first of my blog series on How to Overcome Shame. When I first released my book No Makeup: Experiencing Freedom Through Imperfections, I felt very vulnerable. Even though my mother knew about my past experiences and heard me share my testimony at a women’s conference, I still shuddered at the thought of her actually reading the book. Might I also mention that my dad is a pastor and I had the full support of my church family in Port Arthur, TX. Many of whom had no idea how raw and uncut my book was. They got to know a secret side of me that up until that point only a handful of people knew (insert gasp). I felt extremely uneasy each time someone said they ordered my book, because I was afraid of being judged. Here I am, the author of a testimonial book, feeling apprehensive about sharing her personal testimony. I knew beyond doubt, this was something God wanted me to do, but it was still scary. I was valuing people’s opinion of me more than God’s purpose for me. However, I felt all the uncomfortable emotions and release the book anyway.
Soon after the book’s launch I was flooded with stories from both younger and older women eager to share their trials with me! Women who had held on to a past they were ashamed of. As one woman shared her story with me, I could hear the relief in her voice from holding on to a secret burden for over 20 years! She told me how she now had the courage to share with younger women her story in hopes of encouraging them. I received an outpouring of love from woman all over, and honestly I didn’t expect it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I can say I was caught off guard. People love real stories that they can relate to. I can’t relate to a person who has appears to have a perfect life, because that’s not my reality. We are drawn to flawed people because we see ourselves in them. When you see a person who has overcome a situation you’re currently facing, it restored hope. For this reason alone, we must put our feelings aside and overcome shame because it’s bigger than us.
What about you? Has God brought you through something that you’ve been holding on to for a long time? Are you burdened with a past that you believe you can’t overcome? Do you feel that people will reject you if they only knew the “real” you? If so, let me remind you that there is purpose in your pain. God has given each of us an assignment and it is up to us to carry it out. The things that we go through are not for us, instead God wants to use that to help someone else. You don’t have to write a book like I did, but if you see someone struggling with something you went through, bring them under your wing and help them. God gets the glory through all of this.
It’s not easy to open up and expose your imperfections to other people.. Just because you do what God told you to do doesn’t mean it will be easy. However, I found out that my honesty and transparency helped more people than I ever could have imagined. Sure, there may be some people out there who read my book and form an unfavorable opinion about me and that’s ok. My job and your job is to please God, not man. The first step in overcoming shame is to trust that God will be with you as you are open and transparent with those He tells you to minister to. Don’t hold on to something that can truly inspire, encourage or enlighten others. You are authentic and there’s no one else like you. The enemy wants to hold you hostage to your past, but God wants to use it to free you and others. We need you, flaws and all!
I remember vowing to myself that only a few people would know the intimate details of my past. I love sharing some parts of my life, but there were other portions that I never talked about. One day God put it on my heart to write a book, but I didn’t know what I was going to write about. I started and stopped many times, but none of what I was writing about flowed. It was then that God clearly let me know He wanted me to share my past experiences in the form of a book. What! I had a hard time sharing with people I was close to, let alone open myself up to people I didn’t know. What would people think of me? What if they judged me based on my past? However, when God has an assignment for us; we can’t even stand in the way.
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