Silencing the Shamer - Enough is Enough — Carol McLeod Ministries
“Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:11).
My shame story began when I was eleven. I entered seventh grade at five feet tall, weighing one hundred pounds, but by the time I left junior high, my weight doubled. Yes, you read that correctly. In the brief span of only a few years, I gained over one hundred pounds.
As a woman, I know you do not need me to detail how traumatic this was for me. Gaining so much weight in such a short amount of time was like a bomb going off in my eleven-year-old life. Everything changed.
I have a vivid memory from when I was twelve. Believing I was out of earshot, I remember a well-meaning relative fretting to my mother, “Oh, what a shame. Laura Anne was such a pretty girl. What a terrible shame.”
Honestly, my relative was telling the truth for the most part, and she never meant to hurt me. The experience of gaining so much weight was truly a terrible shame. Even so, my young ears didn’t hear “it is a shame.” Instead, I interpreted her comments as “she is a shame” and I believed it.
In 1970, no one knew what to do with a little girl who gained one hundred pounds in the seventh grade. Little was known about disordered eating in those days. In sincerely trying to help me, my mother took me to a local weight loss program. From that day on, I lived in a love/hate relationship with all things dieting. I began forcing my body to do something it wasn’t created to do.
My body went from being the fun part of me that ran, skipped, danced, twirled, and played, to becoming my sworn enemy. I began to disconnect from and loathe the physical part of me.
We often believe the words guilt and shame have the same meaning, but that’s not true. Guilt says, “You’ve made a mistake.” Shame says, “You are a mistake.”
Do you hear the difference? Healthy guilt, prompted by the Holy Spirit, pushes you toward repentance and restoration. Shame pushes you toward despair and self-condemnation. It is not from your God.
Shame is created by Satan – who I call The Shamer – to cause maximum damage. Your loving Father convicts to protect you from pain and give you a new life. Shame sends us crawling back into the shadows with our heads bowed low and eyes to the ground. Holy Spirit conviction seeks to draw issues out into the light where they can be dealt with and resolved.
My internal dialogue was filled with harsh words toward myself, and if that wasn’t tragic enough, the dieting culture gave me even more ammo.
Maybe you’ll recognize some of these shame statements:
• I am being bad.
• I am cheating.
• I need to starve myself all week because I ate too much.
• I can’t have what everyone else is having because I’m fat.
• I must hide parts of my body because they are ugly.
Do you hear the harshness in these condemning thoughts?
The Shamer tells you you’re defective. He started telling me that lie at eleven years old. He convinces you that your only hope of restoration is to weigh a certain number and look a certain way.
Expect him to rear his ugly head often while you walk along the healing path. He is dead set against your freedom. He does not want to see you released from the insidious stronghold of unhealthy food and body image behaviors. His goal is to keep you in captivity. He wants you to live a small, isolated, and painful life.
Shame is expensive—it cost me so much. But I think what really impacted me most was my completely unbiblical belief about God and His intentions toward me. And the most heartbreaking belief of all? For far too long, I thought the voice of The Shamer belonged to my heavenly Father.
Thankfully, as my faith grew, and I learned to line my thinking up with God’s Word, I eventually recognized the sweet voice of my Savior. The way He spoke to me was in stark contrast to the condemning voice I had been listening to for so long. Jesus Christ’s voice was full of grace, kindness, and love. The more I recognized God and paid attention to what He said about me, the voice of The Shamer steadily became silent.
Just as the voice of my Savior is in stark contrast to the voice of The Shamer, so are His ways. The Shamer brings severe restrictions and legalism regarding food and how we relate to our bodies.
But listen to Jesus’ way …
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).
Anyone ready to learn the unforced rhythms of grace? Just imagine feeling completely free of chronic guilt, anxiety, fear, and shame.
Today, let’s answer the enemy’s lies with the Word of God. It is time to declare enough is enough.
Heavenly Father, I’ve been listening to The Shamer for too long. Please help me line up my thoughts with your Word. I want to readily recognize your voice when you speak to me. Help me to hear your conviction and hide your Word in my heart so I can respond to the enemy and send him packing. Today I am declaring enough is enough. Thank you for offering me truth and grace. Amen.
This is an excerpt from Laura Acuña’s new 31-Day Devotional book, Still Becoming: Hope, Help and Healing for the Diet-Weary Soul. You can grab your own copy wherever books are sold, Ironstreammedia.com or at www.Laura-Acuna.com