When Joseph was in prison God gave him an opportunity to know something he didn’t know in order to help others. The dreams two prisoners had caused them to become sorrowful because they didn’t know the meanings. Joseph told them that interpreting dreams was something only God could do. And so, because he knew God, he was confident that God would give him the interpretation to tell them. Joseph’s relationship with God enabled him to know something he didn’t know. He passed this understanding on to the two prisoners, and this understanding from God ultimately raised him out of his prison..
Today, we who have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, also have the ability to know things that we don’t know through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples…
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 14:26,17
Besides exposing my shame and unraveling the lie I believed, that I was no good, the Holy Spirit gave me more understanding of shame and how it stole from my life during a very dark season.
To put some things into perspective I need to go back to where I came from. I grew up in a rural farming town in Pennsylvania. We were members of a small Mennonite Church which stayed separate from much of the culture around us. Our separateness came from convictions based on scripture that we followed as part of our obedience to God and as a demonstration of our faith in God. Such as the conviction I spoke up about not listening to “rock” music. The heart of those convictions were godly, intended to be the outflow of a heart that loved God and desired to please Him. Many of them were concerned with the outward appearance and along with the word curse I heard spoken a lot in our home, “What will people think?” it was a perfect set up for the enemy to take those “rules” and twist them and use them for my harm.
So moving along, this young, Mennonite girl married and moved to Bergen County, New Jersey. Needless to say, there are no Mennonite Churches in Bergen County, no farms, no cows…
I was excited, but clueless!
The country was still in me. The convictions were still in me. And so were the lies…”Don’t speak up for your convictions or you won’t fit in.” Oh, and don’t forget what you have heard, “What will people think?” But, I was no longer in my sheltered little community.
That culture change stirred up an insecurity within me. All of a sudden the convictions and rules I had grown up with were no longer adhered to by those around me. My convictions were still in me, but those around me didn’t live by them. Who was I? How did I fit in?
Insecurity seeks a way to fit in…
I had lost some weight and I received many compliments. These compliments fell on a very insecure and vulnerable heart. Those compliments proved I fit in, that others thought I was good! It was those compliments the enemy meant for my harm. Those compliments were seed for an eating disorder and a downward spiral to much more devastation in my life.
Fear keeps the soul striving…
Being thin got me accepted! Being thin was good! That became my truth; this is good, fat is bad. Thin was the way to appear good, if I was fat others would see that I was really no good.
Shame fears exposure, Shame hides in the dark. Shame does all it can to remain a secret.
From the outside I was living a normal, happy, life. Mark and I had a great marriage. We regularly attended church and I attended a woman’s Bible study each week. Our family was growing, God blessed us with three wonderful sons. Mark was in business with his father, we owned our house, I was able to be home to raise the boys…
I had everything I ever dreamed of…and more,
But, the enemy comes to steal, kill, and to destroy…
So, now I was “The thinnest woman in church.” But now what?
There is no satisfying shame; it’s insatiable.
It was like an addiction… I needed others to constantly approve of me.
It was that need of approval that led me down an even darker path. The fear of not fitting in became so strong I completely compromised my convictions. The fear of what others would think of me caused me to conform to what others wanted of me.
Those were the things the Holy Spirit was showing me and I wept as He brought clarity to so much of what happened during that dark season. Though it was a long time ago, and I had already confessed and repented of my sin, I was amazed how clear I could see the ways shame had affected me. With the understanding of how shame worked, how it was connected to the lies I believed, brought an insight that I am so thankful for. Not that I now had an excuse, or I could say that the enemy made me do it.
But seeing the power of the fear from the lies of Satan.
Realizing the deception and secrecy of shame.
Becoming aware of how the strategies of the enemy are meant for my harm, to steal, kill, and to destroy me,brought an understanding that I never had before.
Understanding based on the loving truth of God is powerful…
If you find yourself in a prison of self please be encouraged that God has something you need to know. He has an understanding that He wants to tell you. Get alone with God, completely alone, with no interruptions, and ask the Holy Spirit to speak. And then listen. And you will be amazed!
God is for you and He has a destiny for you to fulfill.
The prison of self is meant for your harm. It is meant to be a place where your hopes and dreams are stolen, killed, and destroyed. But God intends good for you and He has understanding He wants to give you so that He can raise you up out of your prison of self and carry out the hopes, dreams, and destiny He has placed within you!