Kicking Shame Out

The following list includes some of the first meaningful steps I took in my attempt to surrender my shame to God. It would be amazing if I could tell you something like, “Follow these three easy steps and you too will be free from shame!” As I’m sure you know, overcoming shame is not like that; it’s a journey. And I don’t know if your journey will look like mine. I do, however, know this: as you begin surrendering your shame to Jesus, he is ready and able to evict its control from your life.

1. Share Your Story

Scripture tells us that Adam and Eve were created without shame (Genesis 2:25). But we all know how the story goes. In the garden, God’s beloved children wanted to be “like God” (Genesis 3:5). As a result, Adam and Eve (and you and I) were filled with sin and shame. They attempted to hide that shame by covering themselves with fig leaves. But they couldn’t hide from God. The consequence of their sin was banishment from the garden, but before they left, God revealed His compassion.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. — Genesis 3:21

Shame loves to keep us hidden in our pain. Shame flourishes in silence. But just as it did for Adam and Eve, God’s mercy draws us from our hiding places. When you bring your story to the light, shame can do nothing but recoil from the brightness.

2. Sever Unhealthy Connections

For years, I had held onto photos, journals, and mementos from the past, thinking they had value, that they told the story of me. In truth, they only chained my soul to shameful memories. Eventually, I threw them out with the recycling.

I said a physical goodbye to the shame from my past in order to birth new life in my present. If there are any unhealthy relationships or reminders of those relationships in your life, destroy them. If you’ve been in a toxic relationship, but you’re hanging on because you are afraid to disappoint that person or because you feel too emotionally attached, let that person go. If you are controlled by anything — if anything in your past or present is inviting shame in — ask God to help you begin evicting it. It won’t be easy, but when you refuse to let shame take up any space in your life, it is forced to pack up and move out.

3. Disagree with Shame

Satan uses shame as a weapon to demoralize us, and for years, I agreed with his accusations of “Aubrey, you aren’t capable enough. Aubrey, you aren’t strong enough.” But now, whenever shame creeps in, trying its best to condemn me, I condemn it right back — by disagreeing with it. Aloud. If I have those shame-filled thoughts, I will stop and actually say something like, “I don’t agree with that, in the name of Jesus. Jesus says I am enough.”

Disagreeing with shame refutes it and refuses to give it power.

Bonus Step: Seek Help

God has given us the gift of trained Christian therapists — to help us enjoy the adventure of a healing journey. Finding a good professional can help you recover the parts of yourself that years of listening to shame have stolen. You are worth it.

In the form of Jesus Christ, God stood in the same room as your shame. He grabbed it by the scruff of its scrawny little neck, hoisted it out, and slammed the door behind it — forever.

Now it’s up to you to live in the freedom that arrives when shame is forced to go.

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Excerpted with permission from Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame – by Aubrey Sampson, copyright Aubrey Sampson.

About Aubrey Sampson   

Aubrey Sampson is the author of Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame and Rebuilding Your Soul (Zondervan 2015), a blogger for MOPs (Mother’s of Preschooler’s), and part of the teaching team at Renewal Church in the Chicago area. She is also a mom to three young sons, which is to say she spends most days drinking way too much coffee. Aubrey is passionate about empowering women to overcome shame in Christ.