Devotional | Shannon Miller.

My friend had interrupted me mid-sentence, and the refreshing grace hit like a splash of cool water.  Before he stopped me, I had been voicing doubts about my ability to smooth a disagreement with a mutual friend, because of my poor track record as a negotiator up to that time.  My friend’s firm reminder boosted my confidence, and I handled the conflict with a more loving and gracious attitude than I’d thought I was capable of.  Looking back, that conversation was one of the first steps along my winding path from shame-rooted self-talk, to thinking of myself the way God thinks of me.  And by the way—running successful negotiations is now one of my main roles at work.

What do I mean by “shame-rooted self-talk”?  Brene Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”  This is very different from healthy guilt after sin.  A guilty conscience says, “I did something bad.  Therefore I should turn from it and seek to make it right,” but a shamed soul says, “I did something bad.  Therefore I am bad.”

If Satan can make you believe that the negatives in your life define you, he can keep you from moving forward and becoming who Jesus created you to be.  The family you grew up in, the wrong things that have been done to you, and the wrongs you’ve committed, do not define who you have to be.  You are not your past. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” (1 Peter 2:9)