Do you ever struggle with shame?
Growing up, I struggled with shame regarding my allergies, asthma, strength (or lack thereof), and health problems. Still today, I struggle with shame when I am lazy and skip a workout or secretly eat a super-processed, artificially-produced dessert that I am craving. Even recently, I struggled with shame over not writing and sending out an update to serve you in the pursuit of holistic health and fitness.
What about you? Have you ever struggled with shame, which negatively affects your health emotionally and mentally, and often physically as well?
As we think about holistic fitness, an important question is, “How can we deal with shame?” How can we deal with feelings of inadequacy and not living up to our own standards?
Now, to answer this question helpfully, I want to prepare you that this meditation is a little longer than the other ones.
It would be helpful to first understand where shame came from. Why do we struggle with shame in the first place?
The Bible teaches us that shame came into the world because of sin. When we (men and women) were first created, the Bible says that they were naked and unashamed. Their entire lives were exposed, but they had no shame because they had no flaws.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before the first man and the first woman chose to sin against God. They loved something more than God. They pursued identity apart from God. And they disobeyed God’s Word to them.
Right after their first sin, they were still naked, but now they were ashamed. They tried to cover up their shame and hid from God. And you know what? In many ways, they should have been filled with shame.
The Bible tells us that like Adam and Eve, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Because of sin, all mankind is imperfect, filled with flaws, and far short of God’s standard and essence of perfection. It was our choice and our fault, and we should be filled with shame as we are exposed to the perfection and glory of who God is.
Moreover, not only were we exposed to God and rightly filled with shame, but now we also felt exposed to other people and filled with shame in comparison to many others. Shame came as a result of sin and falling short of the perfections of God.
With that said, what is the solution then? How can we overcome shame in our lives? How can we overcome the harmful, crippling, paralyzing, and isolating effects of shame in our lives?
Well, because shame came as a result of sin, the only true, lasting solution to shame needs to deal with the problem of sin.
And thankfully, whereas we ran away from God to pursue sin, compounding the problem of shame, God, in His mercy, grace, and love pursued us to give us the solution.
God sent His Son Jesus Christ to live the perfect, sinless life that no man ever lived. Jesus was the only perfect man who had no reason for shame in His life. But Jesus voluntarily chose to die on the cross, bearing our shame upon Himself as He died for the sins of mankind.
Then three days after He was crucified and buried, Jesus resurrected from the dead in victory over sin and the shame that came with it. And now, because of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, God offers to all sinners forgiveness of sin and freedom from shame.
If we turn away from our life of loving things above God, finding identity apart from God, and living in opposition to God’s Word, and we believe and trust in Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. We simply need to repent and believe.
And when we do, God covers our shame that comes from our sin and all our exposed flaws, imperfections, and unrighteousness, and God covers us with Jesus Christ’s perfect righteousness.
Because of Jesus and covered with Jesus’ perfections by faith, we can be fully known, fully exposed and fully accepted and fully loved. God didn’t wait for us to fix ourselves, get back on the diet train, or become perfect to then love and accept us. God, who sees everything and from whom we can hide nothing in our shame, God chose to provide His Son to fully cover our shame because He first loved us. That is how we can overcome shame!
It is not well wishes or positive thinking. It is a true and lasting reality that could be ours today and everyday through repentance and faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
Let’s embrace this reality and then share this reality to everyone around us, who no doubt struggle with shame in different areas of their lives, which is very damaging to holistic fitness, health, and wellness.
Let’s Pursue Fitness to Positively Impact Others!
Kevin Hsu, CPT & CTNC