I can remember the day like it was yesterday. It was my fifth birthday and my parents had gotten me a new Big Wheel. You know, the kids toy that has a big wheel in the front and two small ones in the back. I was dressed and ready for my party. I had on red shorts and a red and white striped shirt. I begged my parents to let me take my new Big Wheel out on a quick spin around the block and they reluctantly agreed.

I rode out of our driveway like I was shot out of a cannon. I can remember feeling such excitement and joy as I tested the capabilities of my new ride. As I got ready to make my last turn to head home, my back wheel caught the edge of the curb and sent me flying into the gutter. There just so happened to be a huge mud puddle that I found myself lying in. I got up, looked around, and tried to brush myself off, but I quickly realized I was covered in mud and it was going nowhere regardless of how vigorously I brushed my clothes.

As I rose to go home, I can remember wondering if I could just keep riding. It’s the first time in my life I’d felt shame. Covered in mud from head to toe, I didn’t want to face anyone. I knew my parents were going to be upset and I just wanted to hide. Shame has that effect on us. Adam and Eve were created naked and the Scriptures tell us that “they felt no shame.” (Gen 2:25). However, as soon as sin entered the picture we saw them hiding from each other and from God. They quickly sewed fig leaves together to cover their imperfections. (Gen 3:7)

We all have parts of us that we’d like to hide. There’s a part of us that is covered with mud, and if we’re honest, we don’t want to expose our true selves to people. Shame is powerful. Author Curt Thompson suggested that shame says, “I am not enough. There is something wrong with me. I am bad. I don’t matter. Sooner or later they’re going to discover what a fraud I am. I do not have what it takes.” Shame maintains an exhausting hold on our soul when we believe those lies.

The power of the gospel frees us from the debilitating grip of shame. When Jesus stretched out his arms on that Roman cross, he opened his arms to all humanity. Those arms welcome us even when we’re covered in the vilest of mud, and even when we carry the heaviest of shame.

Today, will you think about the areas of your life that you’re hiding? What are the parts of your story you believe would cause people to reject you if they knew the “real you?” Pause today and prayerfully ask Jesus to remove your shame and trust that he will.

Pastor Ryan Paulson
Lead Pastor

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