For the shame-bound family, appearances are everything, and my mother made sure that on the outside we looked respectable, as if we fit in with the Irish-Catholics around us. – Brennan Manning
Brennan is one of the voices who has spoken into my life as much as any author has. I did not have an experience like Brennan did in his life which impacted shame into his life, like an impacted molar. However, my faith and how I view myself has had shame written all over my life.
For most of my life, I have struggled with confidence in who God has called me to be because of shame. Often I feel like God looks at me with disgust and a “how do you think I could forgive/love you”. This has hindered my growth into what God has called me to, I fear to lean into it because what if I am not worthy of His call?
I love the calling of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, he hears this voice calling his name in the middle of the night. He gets up and goes to Eli to see what he needs. The first few times he gets up Eli tells him to go back to bed. The last time he gets up Eli realizes we what is going on and gives him instructions on how to respond and I love it:
“So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.””
1 Samuel 3:9-10 NLT
10 years ago I was struggling big time with my shame and feeling unworthy into what God has called me into. This passage pierced my shame. Not because of what was told to Samuel but because of the idea that God, the creator calls out to Sam. And He was calling out to me. But deeper He was calling into my shame, he is calling into your shame. Into your view of how you see Him.
There are moments that shame comes back into my view. It creeps in when I least expect it. It will tell me that I am not good enough or that I really do not deserve the forgiveness God has for me. And when you are shame-bound we like to hide it, appear normal, and sink away from what God has called me too.
When we are real and honest with ourselves and God. When he calls us and we do not hide our vulnerability, like Adam and Eve, we have the chance to live into our God-given authority.
Walls fall down, the ground is taken back, and we get to advance into our calling but even better we also get to help others live in the freedom of the God calling in their lives.
In a still quiet voice, God calls…
Here I am. Speak Lord for your servant is listening…
PASTOR RYAN TROSEN
Ryan Trosen is the Connections Pastor at Restore, working with leadership development, assimilation, and preaching. Ryan provides consultation to bring churches into a healthy and growing state. Ryan and Sarah live in Marshalltown. Ryan has served in ministry for 15 years. He has a B.A in Pastoral Ministries from Vennard College and a MDiv with a specialization in Church Health and Growth from Wesley Seminary.