“I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:4-5
I grew up with ugly monsters in my closet named fear and shame. They had been fed all my life, hurling messages of insecurity, leaving me feeling unworthy and unlovable. I feared disappointing people, being rejected or poked fun at, not being accepted by my peers, being hurt with stinging words, and not being able to control the out of control people and situations in my life. I never felt good enough. I felt weak, unheard, and unknown. By the time I was in high school my burden of shame was so heavy I had a hard time looking someone in the eye when they talked to me.
I knew when I entered college, I had a lot of pain and needed Someone or Something outside of me to heal my inside; and when Jesus came for me my freshman year, I knew He was the One. Psalm 34 became one of my favorite Psalms I clung to as a new believer. A dear friend taught me to take bites of baby food from the Scripture, nourishing my new appetite. Jesus began to cancel the accusations of fear and shame by feeding His Spirit within me.
I wish I could say I have lived fearless the rest of my days. I still struggle with disappointing people and the fear of not belonging and not having a voice. I remain in bondage at times to feelings of not measuring up. Other women’s ministries can thrive, but Sacred Story doesn’t have what it takes because I don’t measure up. Other women can enjoy marriages, but my singleness is partially attributed to the reality that I am damaged in some way and not like others. I am not saying these messages are correct or even that I subscribe to them; however, there are moments and days when my heart and emotions tell me they are true.
I am grateful for the healing and victory God applies to my life over the years and yet it is a lifelong journey of the “now and not yet” of the Christian faith. I will battle the monsters of fear and shame the rest of my life, even though they appear less threatening because Jesus teaches me how to feed upon His Spirit. He gives me new thoughts, inclinations, and windows into my heart and His. He calls me the Apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8); He laughs with me and delights in our conversations. He is ever ready to reach out His nail scarred hand to me in each situation and sometimes just to dance with Him.
Psalm 34 beckons me to bring my fears and shame to Jesus, name them, and lay them before Him as I would pieces of paper. Fear of financial devastation, fear of not saying the right or perfect thing, fear of not being good enough, and more. Then I turn each one over and discovered the same message: Delivered, Delivered, Delivered. Like a child running from monsters in the closet, I run to Jesus, jump in His lap, and hear Him say, “Child, turn your face toward Me. Be radiant because that’s how I see you. I am here. I am able.”
Lord, I look to You when my fears and shame rise up and want to claim my thoughts and emotions. Thank You for being my Deliverer and the One who makes my face radiant.