“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” Psalm 16:5-6
“You’re such a hypocrite, Morgan. All the things that you said you stood for, you have thrown out the window. How could you do that? Hurt your friends, give yourself away, be so selfish? Good luck trying to have God, someone else, or even yourself love you after all that you’ve done.”
This was something that was actually spoken to me by a “close friend” roughly ten years ago. Can you believe someone actually said that to me? Even as I type it out, it truly is appalling. She is the kind of person that, deep down, I know doesn’t have my best interest at heart, is more interested in manipulating me then actually knowing me, and who doesn’t believe in grace or the power of redemption.
From the start, I really never trusted this person, but the sharpness of those words actually stuck with me. Not just stuck with me, they marked me. Broke me. Changed me.
As much as I wish I could say that was the only time this happened, it wasn’t. You know those people that seem to follow you everywhere? It’s like come onnnn, of all people, really, THIS friend?? This girl has to go to the same college as me and continue to say hurtful things to me? This person HAS to take note of every new place I was going, every effort I made to escape my past, and follow me there?
I’m sure you’re thinking, “How can ONE person have such a grip over your life? After all, it’s only one opinion.”
The reality is, having someone in your life that is a loud competing voice even amidst the dozens of friends that tried to convince me that the mistakes I’d made, the sin I carried, the choices I had made apart from Jesus didn’t define me anymore, eventually ‘the one’ had the final say.
Over the past ten years, this destructive friend who spoke these lies over me eventually caused such a massive buildup of shame.
To understand WHY this happened (trust me, this is just as much for me as it is you), let’s go wayyyy back to the garden in Genesis 3.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Genesis 3:6-7 (ESV)
Friend, do not mistake this act of hiding as a fashion statement. The symbolism seen through the context of shame brings actual tears to my eyes and a pit in my stomach.
Up until this point in all of creation (we’re only two chapters into the beginning of time, but still, you get the point), there had been no separation from God. That means ZERO HIDING, ZERO COVERING UP, ZERO SHAME.
This act of hiding and covering themselves was an entirely new thing. This is so foreign to us today because clothes are a fundamental part of our everyday lives (I hope), but in the garden of Eden, it just wasn’t. It wasn’t, because they knew that they were created in the Image of God and it was a beautiful thing for the Creator to behold its perfect creation. No one told Adam and Eve to do what they did. It was pure instinct to cover their bodies directly following this act of disobedience.
I want you to hear this loud and clear: If love is the first most powerful force on earth, shame is the second.
Shame lies. Shame comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Shame tells us to take hold of another cup than the cup of our double portion. Shame tells us that our inheritance isn’t as beautiful as promised by our heavenly Father and that we should take matters into our own hands. Shame covers up and scatters our lives into a million little pieces.
And that is what it has done for me. I let the shame of my past steal so much from me. On certain days it feels too strong to bear. Shame brings back memories that I would do anything to forget.
But in the midst of my endless fights with that voice, I know there is something else that covers. Just as one person can have such a grip of lies on me, there is One that has a stronger grip of freedom laid out for me.
God knew what the fig leaves meant. The day that sin entered the story is the same day that God started His eternal pursuit to win us back to Him.
“And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” (v. 3:21)
Did you catch that? God made garments of skin and clothed them. This implies that He sacrificed and slaughtered an animal for his children in order to give them a better covering.
If this isn’t foreshadowing, I don’t know what is. Since the beginning of time, God was setting up the narrative for Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, to come, die, and trade our pitiful fig leaves for an eternal covering. This is where freedom is found.
Shame scatters, Jesus gathers.
If what you’ve read today resonates with you, please know you’re not alone in this moment. The truth is, I still have that friend in my life that occasionally makes cutting remarks to resurface my past, making me feel so hidden in fig leaves that I can’t tell where the shame ends and I begin.
Even last night, I went to a class taught by one of my mentors. She was laying out the concept of time and God’s plan for the fullness of it. I came alone, sat down in my chair, looked up, and you won’t believe it…THE FRIEND WAS THERE. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
I felt so anxious the whole time knowing she was in the room and fought back tears at the thought that she would call me out.
At the end, my mentor asked everyone to write out this question: “God, how do you see me?”
Check out my answer…
No, you’re not seeing it wrong, I didn’t write anything.
The minute I wrote that question on my paper, I felt it so clearly that the word God was giving me was “proud.”
This word TERRIFIED me. Proud? There’s no way, and I had a person in the room that would agree with me. So, I sat there, fighting back tears, looking for the closest exit and some fig leaves laying around, just in case.
I actually left the night writing nothing in that space and I still haven’t.
Amidst all the fighting voices, I sit here (with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart) choosing the better portion and good cup. With that, I want to make two confessions.
First, the friend who has followed me everywhere is me. But it’s actually not me, it’s shame. It’s rooted in lies. Yes, it’s been around for so long it almost feels like a part of me, but it’s not who I am. I am choosing to not allow that voice in my life anymore. I know I will have days when I doubt, but right now, I am walking away. I will not let shame have the final word. It’s been too long, and I’m done.
Lastly, how does God see me? HE’S PROUD. Because of what Jesus has done, I have been redeemed, made new, and been forgiven. I’ve taken on my true identity; a daughter who makes her Father proud.
This truly is the beautiful inheritance–trading fig leaves for freedom.
“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore, in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” Isaiah 61:7 (ESV)
Morgan Krueger is part of Team LO and loves any opportunity to hear someones heart (or their enneagram number). In her free time she loves drinking coffee with friends, watching British baking shows, and dreaming big with her husband Ryan and puppy June in Franklin, TN.