When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Written by: Ian Rock
Let’s be honest. None of us are particularly proud of our weaknesses, failures, and mistakes. We do our best to highlight our strengths, our best moments, and our victories. Think about social media… the majority of the things we post have essentially created a highlight reel of our lives. Day after day, we post our highlights and then we scroll past the highlight reels of our friends. Relationship milestones, new jobs and promotions, and tropical getaways are the bar that we’re trying to reach.
The social pressure to be “okay” and keep up with our peers is exhausting. Nobody excitedly shares about a failed relationship, layoff, or less-than-satisfying vacation to Tulsa. We typically withhold sharing the moments we deem not good enough for our highlight reel, and project something else to show that we’re still “okay.”
Day after day, we each dress and mask ourselves in order to put off the image we want others to see. Makeup, nice clothes, and cool gadgets distract others from our blemishes. Meanwhile, we know the real us. We know the struggle at home and insecurity at work. We know the debt we’re struggling to pay off. We know the new wrinkle or ever-receding hairline. Whether it’s in the quiet moments before sleep or when we’re comparing ourselves to the world’s highlight reel, we struggle to feel the confidence we spend all of our energy putting off each day.
Shame wants to creep in and tell us we need to put on the mask to hide our true selves from the world. Shame wants to get in your head and tell you that you’re the only one with that struggle. Shame greets you in the mirror, pointing out that flaw you can’t seem to look past.
Our darkest days, weaknesses, and biggest failures don’t have to be the things that define us. But if you struggle with shame, you’re not alone.
When Adam and Eve dishonored God, they immediately felt the weight of disappointing the One that created them. They saw their imperfections and did their best to cover and hide from each other and from God. The thoughts of failure and unworthiness flooded their minds.
“Will God know?”
“Will God forgive me?”
“Will God still love me?”
When they ran and hid, God chased them. Even after they messed up, God didn’t give up on them.
What we see take place after that is the same picture of grace echoed throughout the Bible. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what’s been done to you—God loves you. Nothing you do can change that. Though there might be hurt, pain, and consequences associated with our failures, we aren’t defined by them.
God loves us where we are, but he loves us enough not to leave us there.
Thought of the day: If you’re struggling with the shame associated with something in your past or because you feel like you don’t measure up, know that God is absolutely crazy about you. He doesn’t love you because of who you are, what you have done, or how you’ve impressed him—He simply loves you like a Father should love their child.
Are there any areas of your life (failures, habits, hurts) you believe God can’t redeem? Ask Him to show His grace to you.
Prayer: God, allow me to walk in the freedom from my past. Thank You for working Your way to me, and that Your love of me isn’t dependent on my performance. Thank You for using my past to prepare me, and not define me. Help me to love others with the same amount of grace You’ve shown me. Amen.