I was standing in front of the mirror getting ready for the day when the Lord dropped a phrase into my mind: No shame November.
Yes. You’ve heard of No shave November: the hairy movement that either leaves you feeling shaggy and free, or a bit concerned for your friends.
No shame November is a movement for the soul. Too often we speak shame messages over our lives that do not align with God’s thoughts toward us. He calls us accepted, redeemed, forgiven, completely known, and deeply loved. Is that what we truly believe about ourselves?
My friend Kaylee is here sharing about her faith journey and the hesitancy she felt even after becoming a Christian. It’s easy to believe that when we come to faith, all the good feelings come, and our worries melt away. Kaylee debunks this idea in the most compassionate way. I admire her honesty of how she found confidence in her relationship with God as she sought Him wholeheartedly, without any concern that she was at fault. It’s a message we all need to hear, no matter where we are in our walks with Christ.
I was raised in a Christian family, so God has always been a part of my life. I was officially saved when I was a little girl. I don’t remember when it was or what it was like, but I do remember not feeling anything out of the ordinary. When I was younger I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel anything when I was saved. Everyone else I had talked to not only remembered the exact day they were saved but also remembered how wonderful they felt afterward. I became worried that I had done something wrong and it didn’t work. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to go to heaven. For years, I would pray the same thing over and over again. “Jesus, forgive me of my sins and come into my heart. I want you. I need you.” Each time, I still didn’t feel anything. I kept trying in hopes that if I did it enough times then it would eventually work. It wasn’t until I finally talked to my parents about it that I was reassured everything was okay. Not everyone feels different right after being saved. And since Jesus had been a part of me all my life, not much changed when I made it official at such a young age.
The fact that I felt like I was missing something, the fact that I wanted more of Jesus, was actually kind of a good thing. There are going to be times in your life when you feel perfectly fine with your relationship with Jesus. Whether it be simply going to church, praying, reading the Bible regularly, or all of the above, you will feel satisfied. Then there are the times where you do everything in your power to spend more time with God. More time at church, more time praying, more time reading the Bible. And yet, you only feel like you’re getting farther and farther away from where you’re supposed to be. It’s a concerning feeling, especially when you don’t know what it means.
But these feelings are good, just like my worries as a child. When you feel like you aren’t close enough to God, it means you are seeking God. It means that you realize how much of Him you truly need. You recognize that you cannot do anything without Him, and therefore you feel guilty for not spending “enough” time with Him. But if you’ve ever experienced these worries before, you may be able to realize now that those times of feeling so far from God are actually the times when you’re the closest to Him.
Next time you are fearful that you aren’t doing enough to strengthen your relationship with God, just remember that it’s a good thing. I don’t mean to just leave your relationship with Him how it is without trying to do more. You should satisfy those cravings for Him. You should do as much as you can to spend time with Him. Just don’t let those feelings cause worry in you. And above all else, pray. Ask Jesus to help you through whatever you may be facing, and ask Him to put the desire and will in your heart to come closer to Him.
Kaylee’s story is one of grace and space. Grace to remind us that every step and effort we make toward God–both great and small–is seen by Him, and space to realize that we don’t have to feel like we’re doing enough to actually be enough for Him. His love is unearned and unconditional; it is by faith and the Spirit–not our own efforts–that we receive it. For the next month I challenge you to speak affirming, Christ-centered messages over your life. I am enough. I am worthy. I am loved by God. Reject the shame messages that do not match up with these truths. It is here in God’s thoughts and words toward us that every lie and message of shame are uprooted, and His love is planted to help us grow confidently deep in rich fellowship with Christ.
Christ as my Anchor