My addiction to sin wasn't a public one at all. It was so private that often I was able to convince myself that it wasn't really a problem and that it would only become a problem if I told someone. So, I sinned on for fourteen years, convincing myself that I didn't have a sin issue that needed to be dealt with. When this pattern of destruction, brokenness, and shame started, I was 5 years old. I really had no idea what I was doing and by the time I realized that I was doing something that wouldn't glorify God, I had become an expert in justifying my sins.
I stumbled upon healing in an effort to rid myself of shame from what I thought was an isolated instance of sin. A friend pushed me to open up to my mom about this instance. She said, "shame is not from God. Guilt over sin is, but shame is not. It's a tool that Satan uses to destroy lives and community." Those words carried weight with me. God used those words to spur me on to action. As I was vulnerable with others in my Christian community, I felt God healing me. With each word I spoke, it was as if He was shining a bit more light into the darkest, most concealed parts of my soul.
The thing that shame cannot stand against is vulnerability. If God did not make me absolutely uncomfortable until I told someone the thing about myself that was so private that they would have never found out on their own, I would still be feeling the weight of sin and shame upon my shoulders. And God has used my vulnerability with my struggles to break the pain of shame and bondage of sin with almost every person I have shared with. Isn't God faithful? To use something so broken, so messy to heal others. I am utterly amazed.
I still struggle. Some days are better than others. But since God has given me the strength to open up to others in my Christian community, I have accountability. So often I think that, as a Christian, I am expected to be perfect. When I am dealing with hard things, I don't want to tell anyone so they don't realize that I'm not perfect. Newsflash!! A perfect Christian cannot be found on this earth. So why are we trying to keep up the illusion of being perfect? This illusion only brings pain and shame. Being vulnerable with our brokenness allows us to be part of an authentic Christian community that is not perfect, but is continually encouraging its members to become more and more like Jesus.
God is faithful. And each day, through the struggles I have, He is illuminating the dark parts in order to mold me into a woman more like Him. Praise God!