I write this a lot at the end of tweets.
I just downed an entire box of Rainbow Nerds. #NoShame
My kids are still in their jammies from yesterday. #NoShame
I can’t remember the last time my daughter had a shower. #NoShame
My van smells like dirty feet and eternal flatulence. #NoShame
I joke a lot about not having shame, but on a serious note, I’m just now starting to learn what it means to actually live shame-free.
In my teens, I felt pretty good about myself, because I followed all the Christian youth group rules for shame-free living, or at least the ones I broke I did privately and with few repercussions. Youth group “good girl” morality, check. No shame.
When I hit a few bumps in the road, snuck out of my carefully defined borders a little too much, and made some bad choices, I felt shame hit the top of my head and melt down over my shoulders like a big ball of impossible-to-remove wax.
I wore shame for about a decade and a half. It felt comforting. I deserved it. I flogged and punished myself inside my brain for all the little ways I messed up, fell short, all the ways I shoulda coulda woulda. I knew about grace, but somehow I got mixed up and shame became as much a part of my walk with God as grace. I deserved shame.
But I missed the whole point of grace. It’s undeserved.
It became easy for me to gravitate to theology that teaches I am a worm I am dust I am nothing, but a God of grace, a God who could be pleased with me and love me?
Because of this guy who hung on the cross and died and rose and showed people the nail scars in his hands.
This time of year, when we take a breath to think about the cross, about our Savior, and about resurrection, I get gut-punched by the reality of how much He loves us. And it blows away my shame.
On Sunday at church, we sang “How He Loves” again. We sing it a lot, and for me, it’s become like the worship song version of “Let It Go,” a song that started out amazing and after hearing it about 147 times before breakfast, has earned a spot right up there with Barney’s “I Love You, You Love Me.”
But this Sunday, even though we’ve sung it a lot, my heart heard this line fresh and hopeful:
“I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us.”
How can I maintain my regrets when I think about what we’re celebrating this season?
He scorned the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2) and if we put our trust in Him we’ll never be put to shame (1 Peter 2:6). I forget. I forget that the cross is all about killing shame, offering a gift that can’t be earned.
Grace. The thoughts inside my head want to batter me and remind me of all my failures, but today I can almost taste grace.
In my teens I thought I was good enough.
In my twenties I embraced shame.
In my thirties, here in the back half of my thirties, I’m embracing grace, running at it, falling into it, and discovering a God who delights in His creation.
This season, as you eat of the Peeps and vacuum up the green plastic grass that gets everywhere, may you feel His grace and His deep, soul-quenching love. Oh. How. He. Loves. YOU.