I was discouraged and miserable. I had made so much headway, but here I was again, waist-deep in the muck at the bottom of the pit. How did this happen again?! How did I get here? Why couldn’t I just DO what I knew to do? Why did I keep slipping up? Why couldn’t I just resist the temptation? I knew in my head I was free—but why wasn’t my heart free? No one knew the depth of my shame. It was a deep dark secret concealed by carefully hidden candy wrappers and forgiving clothing choices. I held the shame in my heart, berating myself for every perceived failure with my eating. It was my penance, the only weapon I held against the fear of losing control completely.
I want to share a hard-won truth with you today. A truth that has changed my life and my relationship with food and catapulted me out of that soul-crushing pit. In Christ you are set free from the power of sin—but did you know that you have also been set free from the SHAME of it? In fact, shame is a clever trap that the enemy uses to keep us ensnared in habits and choices that we have been set free from.
“Until we let Christ’s work on the cross not only save our souls but cleanse our consciences, our own self-destructive tendencies will unwittingly team with the devil to bully us with bouts of mental torment. You may reason as I reasoned for years: well, at least it keeps me humble. But, unfortunately, that’s not all a guilty conscience does. It also sets you up for self-sabotage. You’ll be on the way to something good and do something ridiculous. You will have an overwhelming tendency to repeat the same pattern you’ve despised in yourself because, somewhere deep inside, you still believe the old you is the real you.”
Did you catch that? Guilt and shame lead to SELF-SABOTAGE. Food may seem insignificant in the line-up of things we feel guilty about, but that’s exactly why it flies under our radar. In fact, in our culture, feeling guilty about food choices is almost considered a moral obligation.
Guilt and shame lead to self-sabotage.
We think that condemning ourselves for overeating or eating junk will lead to better choices in the future. Then, when the future comes and we revert to the same destructive choices, we say, “I’m just so weak!” You are not weak, you are HOLDING ON TO SHAME. Shame sets up camp in a prison that Jesus has already blown the doors off. You may think this is just a food issue, but this is an intensely spiritual issue that holds you back from walking confidently in your FULL, FREE identity in Christ.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Let GO of the self-condemnation. It’s completely counter-intuitive, I know, but it will transform freedom from a CONCEPT to YOUR REALITY. When you feel disappointed by a choice you’ve made, remind yourself you’re an imperfect human saved by grace and FORGIVE yourself. If you feel like you’ve disappointed God too, ask for His forgiveness. Then move forward in the beautiful grace and freedom that Jesus laid His life down for.
“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”
From the moment we say yes to Jesus, we begin a process of transformation into the “real us” He originally intended us to be. But you can’t be transformed if you’re busy re-arranging furniture in your shame-prison. Step out with a “sincere heart FULLY trusting Him.” Take a leap of faith and trust that your version of penance can’t add anything to the already perfect work of Christ.
You can’t be transformed if you’re busy
re-arranging furniture in your shame-prison.
Trust that day by day you are being transformed, and let go of ANY timelines you’ve drawn for yourself. Silence the negative loop that used to play in your head. That’s old music for an old prison. You have a new playlist now; you are saved by grace, you are FREE, you are in a process of transformation, He is bringing beauty from your ashes and He will turn your current mess into your future message.
If you can’t buy in to these new truths quite yet, picture yourself older and wiser, walking in the freedom you long for; what would you say to encourage your younger self? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!