You are Shameless
The moment they took a bite of the fruit—this is when they hid from God. Adam and Eve were embarrassed and ashamed. They instantly became something they were not supposed to become, so they went and hid in the garden. (FYI: “Hide” in the Greek is the root word for persona).
I played competitive hockey until I was 25 years old. After my semi-pro career in Germany, I left the sport severely depressed and lost in a sea of uncertainty. I had no identity. For years I had set my personal goals around how I performed on the ice. My identity was wrapped in my performance. I knew it, and everyone around me knew it. So what happened when I left the sport at age 25? My personal identity was gone. I was in a state of chaos, and I was also ashamed because I’d had a false expectation of my abilities. I had no personal core values and no vision of what I stood for personally. I’d committed my life to the Lord at 16 but didn't have a relationship with Jesus. My identity was a false floor, and when the rug got pulled out, my identity was lost. Shame and guilt came rushing in.
Striving to be something we are not leads to shame. When we abandon who we were meant to be as created by God, we betray ourselves and Him and can begin to exhibit self-sabotage, anger at ourselves, and eventually anger toward others. We also can wind up in depression, which is often anger turned inward.
The world often tries to lead us down that path of false identity, so when we follow it and strive to be who we are not, we feel ashamed. It bears down when we try to please the world instead of the Holy Spirit. When we try to live up to worldly expectations instead of God’s expectations, we feel ashamed.
When we strive to perform for a team, group, individual or job that is outside our ability or that is something we don’t have time or resources to handle and then we fail, we feel shame because of false identity and expectation.
When we examine shame we can use the book of Genesis as the foundation. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit they felt shame, in part because they didn't know who they were anymore and had taken on an identity never meant for them. They hid from God.
Today, if you are struggling with shame, evaluate your identity. Are you becoming who God wants you to be or who the world wants you to be? Only one of those pursuits will lead to freedom and joy without shame. Find your God-given vision, believe in it and communicate it. Being shameless requires a strong commitment to your identity through Christ Jesus, so be bold, transparent and intimate with Christ. He will not let you down.
- How do you define yourself? Where do you get your identity?
- Have you ever asked God who He created you to be?
- How much of what you do is marked by abilities and performance?
- What do you really want to do?
- Write down five passions and five things you love to do. How much of what you do now is on that list?
- Pray and ask God to reveal who you truly are in Him, how He created you and what He designed you to do.