Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
Experiences of shame lead to fear. When shame causes us to be afraid we make extra efforts to protect ourselves against future experiences of shame. We try hard, for example, to look good. We focus on controlling external appearances. We also try hard to anesthetize our feelings because of our fear of shame. We focus on controlling our feelings so that other people won't get to know us. If they did they might discover the shame we are trying to hide. In this way shame traps us in a cycle of fear and emotional numbing and covering up.
But if we hide our shame, it can never be healed. Our shame heals when we reveal our inner being to people who accept us rather than shame us. This is not an easy process for us because we expect to be shamed. We do not expect to be accepted.
What a remarkably grace-full experience it is when God says "you don't need to be afraid, you will not suffer shame." We can open our hearts to God and find acceptance rather than shaming. God sees our fear. God knows that we want to run and hide. But it is God's desire to heal our deep wound of shame. "You don't have to be afraid," God says to us, "you will not suffer shame or disgrace or humiliation with me."
I have experienced so much shame, Lord.
So much disgrace.
So much humiliation.
Sometimes I want to hide myself from life.
And sometimes I want to numb myself to life.
Sometimes I want to disappear completely.
Thank you for your promise.
It calms my fears and helps me to stop hiding.
It helps me to stop covering up.
Thank you that I can open my heart to you and not suffer shame.
Thank you for the people in my life who accept me and do not shame me.
Protect me, Lord, from shame.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery