Shame has a way of spreading through the soul like mold spreads through a house. Shame is different than guilt. It isn’t just feeling remorse or regret about an event in your life, like when our internal moral compass tells us we are in the wrong and indicates a course correction should take place. Shame is the feeling that you are bad and that there is something inherently wrong with you.
My husband encountered a recent disaster on the job site of a large and beautiful home in which he was working. There was a knob that broke off of a sink, followed by substantial volumes of water sprayed at high pressure. Picture a fire hose opened at full throttle in your Pinterest version of a refinished laundry room. The water damage was extensive, leaking through to the ceiling of a finished basement and requiring the ceiling to be ripped out and dried for hours upon hours with industrial fans. Without going to the length of ripping out the ceiling, there was a strong likelihood that mold would spread quickly in the dark and concealed spaces beneath it.
I have come face to face with shame in my own life and have fought my way through the trenches of rediscovering my worth. I had to take a painful look at what was growing beneath the ceiling of my heart. It has been a long journey, and through that process, I have learned to identify shame in the lives of others because pain recognizes pain.
If you’ve been following our journey this past year, then you know that my husband and I launched a church and a coffee house (coming soon) called “The Fringe.” There were several names on the table as possibilities when we were trying to decide. We chose that name because our hearts burn for those who feel on the fringe of society and life.
One time after we first announced the launch, someone said something to my husband that I will never forget. He said this:
“You may be called to the fringe, but you are not the fringe. I don’t see you that way.”
I want to be a person who makes people feel like even though they may feel on the fringe, they are not the fringe. I want to be a person who leaves the light on for people who are wandering in the dark. Like when you’ve been driving for miles and miles in the middle of nowhere and there are no signs of life and finally, a gas station and a sigh of relief. For that person who has lost their way in life. For that person who feels like they don’t belong anywhere. For that person drenched in shame and regret, I want to be a person that the light and love of a Father who never gives up shines through.
I want to be that reminding voice that even though you have made some mistakes in life, you are not a mistake.
In Luke chapter 15, we see the story of the prodigal son who has left home and disgraced his family. When he comes to his senses and returns home, his father sees him coming from a long way off and pulls up his robe and runs to him. The father knew that if someone else were to get to his son first, they might beat him, send him away, or publicly humiliate him. He ran to his son to spare him the shame.
We have a father who runs to us. We have a father who will stop at nothing to restore you to your position as the beloved. He tears down ceilings and runs to get to you first. May we be people who do the same to those we encounter in life. May we love so radically that it heals and transforms and silences the shame. May our lives tell this love story written with each of us in mind.