Shame & Guilt
Why do you feel shame? Why don’t you feel you are good enough or that you can’t lead? Questions I ask myself often.
I still struggle with these feelings; feelings that are not from God. I just want to be liked. I just want to do good and help women in the process, but I’ve made so many bad choices. They are clearer to me than most of my good choices. Guilt is always present.
When I was in junior high I was at the house a young mom. I babysat her elementary aged daughter. She was single and raising her daughter alone. In all her struggle she had found a good job and was providing well for the two of them. That was important to her.
CD’s were all the rage then. Music and different sounds captivated me. This woman that trusted me with her daughter’s life had lots and lots of CD’s. More than a hundred and that was a lot in my pre-teen brain. I listened to many of them while I babysat and we danced in good fun together. One day the thought came to me she wouldn’t even notice if a few were gone. I was so selfish. I took several of those CDs. Mariah Carey was one of them and I believe there was a Beach Boys in there too. I tucked it away in my book bag and didn’t look back.
I stole. I broke the eighth commandment. And I knew better. I knew it was wrong. It didn’t belong to me, but I took it and I didn’t feel bad for it until much later in life. This pastor’s daughter, raised in church, knowing full well that sins had consequences was a thief. It wouldn’t be the last time I stole.
Ladies, my shame began there. I knew then that I would never live up to the approval I sought from my father or my mother. It was at that point that I began feeling like I was never going to be good enough. If I was capable of this awful sin and really not feel guilt then there was a deep darkness in me and I didn’t think it would have a cure.
Oh how I wish I could tell you that I gave those CDs back and apologized. I listened to them often. I was too full of shame to do such a thing and that would also mean my parents would find out. I couldn’t fathom the punishment if they found out; learned that they had a thief for a daughter.
This was a guilt I carried with me for decades. Even now as I think about it I am pained. I wish I remembered the woman’s name (that is how very little I thought of her) so I could tell her how very sorry I am or repay her for what I took. I’m sure she knew I took them. I have asked God to forgive me for this sin. I asked humbly and with a sincere heart. I knew the moment I asked that I was forgiven, but I can’t undo what I’ve done to someone else.
This may seem petty and insignificant to you, but there is nothing insignificant about breaking one of God’s commandments, even if just for a few CDs. It’s not petty to hurt or betray someone’s trust. I failed this woman. Even as a young girl I could have had a great influence on that family, but I ruined any influence I once had.
Do you suffer from feelings of shame or guilt? Have you done something that you aren’t’ proud of, but aren’t sure of how to rectify or that you even can?
I’m here to tell you that even if you aren’t’ able to physically fix your wrongs on earth now, you have a chance to right your wrongs with the One who matters most.
Lord, I’m so sorry for letting you down. I have done wrong by you and have carried shame and guilt with me with every step I take. I don’t want this any longer. I ask you to forgive me for my sin and wash away my iniquity. Use this pain I’ve carried for something good to glorify you. Amen.