It wasn’t until I began exploring the topic of shame that I realized I’d felt unlovable most of my life. I wasn’t consciously aware of, it was just below the surface of everything I did; like trying to earn everyone’s approval, or not really playing an active role in who my friends were (letting my relationships choose me).
The belief that my feelings didn’t matter was also floating around just below the surface, along with the emotions I’d been stuffing since childhood.
Anything ‘stuffed’ can only hold so much before it leaks, pops, or explodes. What’s inside overlap’s and it’s all mushed together; when it escapes it can be messy and hard to sort out.
I started digging into that mush, wondering what was underneath my anger, addiction, control issues, and performance anxiety – It was shame.
Not the ‘I’ve done something bad’ kind of shame; the ‘I’m bad’ kind of shame.
Unfortunately, feeling unlovable is common. We live in a fallen world. People shame us and we shame them. We talk about unconditional love but how many times do we withhold it when someone doesn’t act the way we want, and how many times has it been withheld from us?
There is one who loves us unconditionally-despite our guilt and shame. He owned it, felt it, and wore it to the cross.
Even though we have ‘done something bad,’ (sin) we are not bad, which is why Jesus laid down His life for ours. It is because He loves us.
It is because we are precious, valuable, and worthy enough to die for:
“There is no greater love than to lay down ones life for his friends” (John 15:13).
I’m not trying to offer a pollyannish quick fix. God is the great physician. The only one greater may be time itself and both reveal difficult truths along the road to healing. You may never be completely free from feelings of shame in this lifetime.
But when they do show up, know this: You are loved deeply-enough to die for.
- Do feelings of shame ever cause me to feel like I’m unlovable?
- Can I begin to believe that God loves me deeply? Why or why not?