Thursday, October 5, 2017

CONFESSIONS OF AN ADDICT

I am back in my former "Really Small Group" I wrote about in my book.  It is small enough to be honest and transparent with one another without fear.  We are studying a book, that I must confess, I was not very excited over.  In the very early weeks of the study, God is using it to teach me--drag me along--even with my heels firmly dug in--He is revealing new truths to me.




Though the book is NOT about shame---somehow I came away from the first discussion with revelations about the destructive power of shame in my life.  I laughingly told the others, in today's culture, what has shamed me so grievously would be laughingly passed off as "Is that all you've got?" today.  It is NOT small potatoes to me.  I have given it free rein to rule who I am for far too long and it has managed to stifle and obscure  the important truths of Who God Is and What He says about me.





I need to attend a weekly meeting and stand up before all my fellow addicts and announce, "Hi, I'm Lora and I am addicted to approval."  I have spent a great deal of my life seeking approval to atone for past mistakes and current life status.  My focus has been on being good enough to negate the past and the truth is---I could NEVER be good enough.  I love the words from the Communion Ritual repeated in the Methodist Church, "I am not worthy enough to even gather up the crumbs under thy table."  I am a sinner---and only by His grace am I worthy to approach the table.




The rejection of a few has fueled the compulsion for approval.  No matter how many wonderful friends I am blessed with---I hunger and thirst for more and more.  I have allowed a handful of rejections to cloud my vision of the blessing of the love of many, but especially the love of God.  When I look in the mirror, when I replay past scenes, I often dwell on the negative and ignore the positive.  Though God has forgiven me, I have not forgiven myself.  I have negated the wonderful thing He has done for me by refusing to accept His sacrifice as being enough.  When I refuse to leave behind the shame, I am not accepting His gift of grace.  In my stark refusal to surrender my shame, I am saying there is something I can do to atone for my mistakes.  WRONG---WRONG---WRONG--on so many fronts this is wrong thinking!




SO how do we surrender our mistakes, leave our sins behind?  We've followed the instructions, done all the steps, and yet we are still plagued by shame.  I have found it necessary to surrender my shame to Him--more than once--sometimes almost daily.  I have to be willing to let it go---allow Him to take it---remember what He has done for me and live beyond my narcissistic shame.  YES--shame is narcissistic.  By allowing shame to shape who we are, we are putting more emphasis on us and our actions than on Him and His mercy.  By God's grace and with His help---I will leave shame behind and glory in His approval.


For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? 
Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men,
 I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10


Post Script---GIVE ME JESUS

5 comments:

  1. You talk so much sense her I do not know where to start. Better to have a face to face conversation than write it all out here.

    For a start - I have never sought anyone's approval and by and large I got my own wish. Most people ignore me. I remember at school the Maths teacher asked me once: "If you have 6 apples and I take half of them what have I got?" I replied: "A summons from my lawyer for stealing my apples!" She ignored me from that day on. The Religious Instruction teacher asked: "Who broke the Wall of Jericho?" I replied: "Not me and any accusations from you will be met by a slander suit in Court." She ignored me too. As did all my teachers.

    Seriously though - the only approval we need is the approval of God. Daily we should ask: "Am I living as He would wish me to live?" Of course we fail sometimes, often in my case. But when we do and we repent honestly, we must accept that God has forgiven us. If we don't forgive ourselves thereafter it is an insult to God because we are effectively saying that He was wrong to forgive us.

    As for shame - of course we may have done things we are ashamed of in the past. But once we realise we did wrong, we repent and receive forgiveness from God and those we have hurt. That should be it. We should draw a line under it and move on. To go back to the shame and replaying the video in our mind serves nothing, either to us, to those we have hurt, or to God.

    God bless. (Sorry it is a long comment this time).

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    1. I am always grateful for your Pearls of Wisdom, Victor. I believe we are on the same page and appreciate your reenforcement of this. If God has forgotten, why can't we?
      Blessings, My Friend!

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  2. Perfectly said, Victor. I don't seek approval, I prefer to be a wallflower and only voice my opinions and such when needed...or be the voice of reason. As for shame, we shall not go there...been there, done that and at times still. Thank you Lulu for a another thought provoking post. smiles

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    1. It is a strong opiate, My Friend! Good for you for being above it! I'm better, but it is a slippery slope to falling back into the pit!!
      Blessings, My Friend!

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  3. Shame is such a tool of the enemy, isn't it, Lulu. Instead of clear conviction of sins by the Spirit, shame's a wet blanket that weighs us down, drags us under, keeps us from moving ahead to all God has for us to be. Thanks for going there today ... yours is a helpful discussion.

    And yes, I think many of us are seeking approval, whether we admit it or not. And all this social media stuff with its likes and comments and friends can boomerang back and hit us in the head, filling us with either pride or the feeling like we're never enough.

    Sigh. May we get our kudos and worth from the One who loves us best.

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Your comments keep my writing and often cause me to think. A written form of a hug or a pat on the back and an occasional slap into reality---I treasure them all!