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Breaking Through Fear and Shame

Filed in Walk With God by on February 4, 2014

Breaking Through Fear and Shame - Visionary Womanhood

If you’ve been a Christian long enough you’ve heard about “fighting the good fight” and “the spiritual battle” and “the weapons of our warfare” – just a few cliche phrases that are popular among us Christian Wemmicks. The fact is, the Bible does use a lot of warfare imagery to describe the Christian life, probably because we are part of the greatest story plot of all time. And of course, story plots always include a character with a problem or enemy to fight—and ultimately get the victory over.

The best stories end that way. And this is the Best Story.

When I think of enemies, I think of lots of stuff. Sin. Pride. The-Devil-Who-Made-Me-Do-It. The neighbor’s dog. But as I really look back at my life and think about what has tripped me up and held me down the most, two things come to mind immediately. They are twins. You often see them hand in hand. These two things have potential to do so much damage. They can utterly destroy a life. They can wipe you out and keep you out of the game all together if you are not on the alert for them. Who are they?

FEAR & SHAME

Let’s talk about fear first.

Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Because of fear we don’t move forward. We may know we should. We may have orders to do so. But we don’t because we are afraid. We are afraid of:

  • Getting hurt
  • Losing money
  • Losing reputation
  • Losing our rights
  • Losing affection
  • Losing dreams
  • Being taken advantage of
  • Being mocked and ridiculed
  • Being uncomfortable
  • Being rejected
  • Missing out
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling lonely
  • Feeling stupid
  • Feeling bored
  • Exhaustion
  • Inconvenience
  • Having little
  • Sickness
  • Death

And we let these fears rule the decisions we make. Here are some of my more specific fears:

  • Fear that my children will reject Christ
  • Fear that my children will get sick or have an accident and die
  • Fear that my children will marry the wrong person and be unhappy
  • Fear of being rejected
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of being misunderstood or misrepresented
  • Fear of losing
  • Fear of poverty

All these things (and more) have, at times, affected the decisions I’ve made and the attitudes I’ve held. Important decisions and attitudes that should be carried out from a wise, Godward perspective rather than from a place of fear.

What about shame?

Shame: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

Raise your hand if you experienced shame as a child. It may have come in the following packages:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Being mocked by schoolmates
  • Being humiliated by someone in authority

When we have sinned against God we feel guilty, and rightly so. That guilt is designed to bring us to repentance and a turning away from our wrong-doing. Shame comes into play when we are trapped. There is no repentance or forgiveness available. There is no restoration or hope. Shame holds us under the water where we eventually drown.

I grew up in a wonderful family. But my experiences at school were not so wonderful. From 4th to 8th grade I was verbally and incessantly mocked by both boys and girls alike. Sometimes I was physically affected (kids threw things at me and sometimes crushed me against the walls of the bus as we rode to school. The bus driver did nothing to help me.)

I was riddled with shame. I had done nothing wrong, but I felt embarrassed, unworthy, ugly, and stupid. I could relate to the Ugly Duckling.

When the woman caught in adultery was dragged before Jesus (John 7) she was guilty of the sin of adultery. But she was shamed by those who caught her and made a public demonstration of her sin. They gloated over her. They compared themselves to her and made the judgement call that they were rock stars worthy of throwing rocks at dogs. They sneered with uplifted nostrils that she was a mangy dog. Worthless scum of the earth. And then they used her to drag Jesus into their trap.

When we are trapped by our own sin or by the sin of others, we are held by the chains of Fear and Shame.

But Jesus.

Nothing traps God. Nothing holds Him down or stumps Him. Nothing surprises Him. “Gee, I never thought about that.” The King of all the Kings is unfettered and rules absolutely. He is free, and He sets Wemmicks free.

Do you know that we don’t even have to fight a battle against fear and shame? Look at what it says in 2 Chronicles 20:17:

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”

All we need to do is believe. Trust. Hope. Rest. Accept.

STAND FIRM AND HOLD YOUR POSITION!

What is that position? It’s in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17)We are hidden with Him (Col. 3:3). We are in the shadow of His wings where we can sing for joy (Psalm 63:7)!

What did that woman caught in adultery DO? Did she fight for her rights? Did she rise up in rebellion, shaking her fist at her accusers? No. All she did was place herself at the mercy of Jesus and receive forgiveness with open hands. She humbled herself and believed.

She stood. In the light of God shining down on her, in the storm of her life, she stood. And the chains of fear and shame fell off.  Her heart was healed, her soul set free to soar up and above the circumstance of her life. Wemmicks had no grip on her anymore. No longer afraid, she was forever safe. No longer ashamed, she was forever loved.

And so are you.

About the Contributor

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, and a contributing author of The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking and You Can Do It Too: 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Stories. You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program. Follow Natalie on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google +. View all posts by Natalie →

Comments (8)

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  1. Shelly says:

    That was wonderful. You have such a way with words and bringing the truth to light.
    Shelly recently posted…Sometimes Simple Is HardMy Profile

  2. I am just reading Ed Welch’s book Shame Interrupted. Such an important subject. Book highly recommended for anyone who needs healing.
    Jeannette Paulson recently posted…Lizziejank writes about her family rethinking the Sabbath….My Profile

  3. Fear and shame, they grip the soul with deadly fingers. Thank you for your words of encouragement today!!!
    Joanne Mitchell recently posted…Make It New Monday 02/03/14… 2 Projects, a Link Up and A GIVEAWAYMy Profile

  4. Patty says:

    I believe almost everyone (if not all) deals with these enemies at one time or another in life. How wonderful that God fights for us. Blessings.
    Patty recently posted…Interested in Christian Herbal Information? / How about a Giveaway?My Profile

  5. Sarah D. says:

    Excellent post. So encouraging! Thank you, Natalie. =)
    I thought of this verse while reading your post: 2 Tim. 1:7

    • Funny – I had originally thought of that verse before I even started writing this – and then never used it! Thank you for bringing it up! For anyone else reading this: “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

  6. Melissa Duey says:

    This is so awesome! Thank you for sharing your insights about the Word of God.

    Another great Scripture about us holding our positions while God fights the fight is in Exodus chapter 14 right before the parting of the Red Sea. God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites about what is to come (the massive Egyptian army coming after them) and in verses 13 and 14..

    13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.
    14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

    Awesome! Praise the Lord!
    Thanks so much for the reminder, I needed it today!
    Melissa Duey recently posted…Why I Blog and Why I Don’tMy Profile