From Shock to Confession
I was at She Speaks the first time I met Emily Freeman, and I thought she was the cutest, funniest, quirkiest (and I LOVE quirky) girl I had ever met. I still feel the same.
But after reading Grace for the Good Girl and then Simply Tuesday, I thought she might be my artsy, more intellectual alter-ego. Seriously, the way she processes life has mirrored mine in so many ways.
Simply Tuesday was just the right book at just the right time for me—just as I fell into a pit of despair about my own book—and I’m forever grateful for Emily’s words of encouragement found attached to the spine of a great read. Here’s an excerpt she’s allowed me to share. Welcome, Emily!
One day last week I’m struggling through those old kinds of struggles that never seem to fully go away— self-acceptance, over-thinking, fear. My mind cycles through them as they sit on the lazy Susan of my soul. Pick one up, turn the wheel, put it back again.
So the Susan is spinning at the rate of the world and John walks in to my sunroom office to ask me a simple question and I snap at him for interrupting me as if he had just told me off or insulted my hair or said I looked fat. In fact, he only asked me if I needed anything from the store.
My response has nothing to do with him and everything to do the discouragement festering in my own soul, but I immediately feel both terrible as well as strangely justified.
After we talk through it, after I apologize, after I turn back to my desk to continue my work, I am forced to face the state of my soul. My first response is shock—I can’t believe I just did that. My second response is shame—What a terrible person I am.
Shock and shame are my most natural and immediate responses when I make a bad choice or have a bad reaction. My shock and shame response is a better indicator of the condition of my own soul than having the bad thought or choosing poorly in the first place. If I feel shocked and ashamed when I snap at my husband, maybe I am assuming I can handle life on my own and don’t need redemption, not really. And so when my soul has a bad idea, I can’t believe it….
Shock and shame keep my head a clean distance from my heart. That is a dangerous place to live. I don’t want this kind of disconnected life. The answer isn’t to shame myself into better things. That never works.
Instead, I want to stop being shocked by my own capacity for terrible thoughts and bad behavior. Until I stop being shocked, I will continue to gasp and gawk at every foul thought that comes into my mind. I will constantly point to some imaginary version of myself and then return to my real self and the incongruence between the two will bring only dizziness, discouragement, and hopelessness. My soul simply can’t survive the whiplash.
I have an insane capacity for jealousy, selfishness, hoarding, backstabbing, criticism, revenge, and procrastination. The answer to dealing with the shocking thoughts and behavior I’m capable of is to refuse to be shocked in the first place.
Instead, confess and turn toward love. Be loved. Be small. Belong to Christ.
I want to learn to keep company with my weakness even as I practice walking in the New Way of Christ. The only way I know to do this is to confess, both my sin and Christ’s righteousness–to continually accept my capacity for sin, but embrace my potential for health, restoration love, forgiveness, patience, and hope in Christ.
I want to remember I am capable of making bad choices while also bearing in mind the baffling choice of God: he chose to make his home in me even though he knew exactly what he was getting himself into.
I want to always see my ability to choose the old but rejoice in my freedom not to.
I want to be aware of the darkness but identify with the light.
Refuse to be shocked, confess your smallness, and receive grace, forgiveness, renewal, and belief.
That’s some crazy good truth, isn’t it? If you’d like more of where that came from, leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Simply Tuesday and Breaking Up with Perfect. I hope YOU win!
Also, to connect with the cutest, funniest, quirkiest God-girl you’ve ever met, visit Emily at her blog by clicking here.
And don’t forget to get all your ducks in a row to be part of my FREE online book study of Breaking Up with Perfect starting August 1. Click here for all the details and to sign up.
Hi Amy. I sent an email with my receipt from January. Didn’t receive the download yet. Just making sure you received it. Thank you:)
There should be something in your inbox from me.:)
Love this line: “…bearing in mind the baffling choice of God: he chose to make his home in me even though he knew exactly what he was getting himself into.” It erases that shame away
….I feel like such a mess…in the past eight years, I’ve become a widow (at age 50) AND a divorcee at age 57)…neither of which did I expect to be…talk about an identity crisis! First marriage was good and solid…godly man…34 years…second marriage, not so much…married a narcissist…takes awhile to recover… Life is not good. Life is hard. God is good. Proverbs 31 Ministries continues to be a great encouragement to me. Thank you for that. I would love to win any books which might be helpful on my journey to healing, wholeness,completion.
That’s really thought provoking. I am also guilty of the shock and shame.
I resounded with it all, I have had those exact conversations with my husband – poor guy over nothing he did….Let me ask a question – although retorical it might be, unknown at this time. Have you EVER wanted
to be SOoooo small and even smaller than that
that no one could see you because of who you think you are & not whose you are and you just want to hide from the world where there are real families that love each other, just not you and you don’t know why. There are people that have girlie friends that go shopping and to lunch…just not you, There are Mothers whose children love them no matter what, I wish I did…..although being small would be just enough for Jesus to see me & since He is the ONLY one that has ever loved me, He is the only one that counts……Thank you Jesus for reminding me that you love me every day & everything I touch, breathe or write and create may it all be about You.
I would love to win the books you mentioned! God bless you for sharing your story with me! It really hit home. I just happened to be struggling with shame last night and this afternoon. Thank God for his unconditional love!
Aware of the darkness I am but I would love to just see the light peeking through.
Amy…thanks so much for sharing the (quirky girls). Comments…they were right on target…after all….we are all sinful female humans with much in common…though uniquely created different by God…blessings on you and all your friends and coworkers for serving Jesus?
Why am I continually amazed by God’s timing? I need this reminder every day, but especially today. Thank you Lord for all the blessings you bestow on me.
This post really ministered to me on the topic of self-acceptance / receiving God’s unconditional love for myself while acknowledging my sinful nature and finding that healthy balance. I would really benefit from reading BUWP… God and I both know :). This week in particular I’ve been reminding myself that it’s not by good works or being good but by receiving God’s free gift of grace that I am loved!
Wow is all! I need to read this book and I’m signed up for BUWP study August 1st and haven’t ordered my book yet. Fingers crossed!
SHOCK AND SHAME! Names I give myself. Thank you Lord that you call me blessed and daughter, child of the King, the great I AM!
I would love to win these books. Thank you for blessing us with words of encouragement and for the daily reminders that we are blessed to be a blessing.
Wow-love this post! This is ME!!!!!
God’s timing is always perfect!!…
I really enjoyed reading this today. I struggle with “bad” thoughts every day. Nice to know I am not the only one as it often feels that way!
What? I’m not alone? I’m not the only one who’s done this (over and over)? Thank you for equipping me with a new perspective.
Thanks for your advice. I am going to copy this devotion and remember your key phrase. Sometimes we think we are the only one who has this problem and in reality we are not. We do need to share our ups and downs which in turn encourages others. Thanks again for sharing and encouraging others.
Very good advice for me today. I would love to win these books–either one!
Wow, from Shock to Confession. Reading this was like looking right into the mirror. Thank you for taking the time to remind me who I am in Christ.
Shame is a battle I face daily. Thank you for your insight.
These words meant so much to me this morning!
I love it when you the Lord speaks so clearly to me and that happened with these words from Emily. So encouraged!
Could not believe how this hit the nail on the head for me! Shock and shame says it all. Confession came with tears and hope for less of me and more of my Lord. I liked the thought that He knew exactly what He was getting into. Thanking Him for His patience, forgiveness and grace in my life.