I was about 11 years old playing hide and go seek in the neighborhood. There were four little four or five-room houses and we ran easily between all the front and back yards enjoying the game.
As one of the oldest, I was always first back to base and rarely had to be “it”. This evening, though, I was it. It was summer and the late afternoon sun was going down to cool the heat of the day.
I was having a great time, not really worried about whether I could find everyone or not. I counted to 100 and then yelled, “Ready or not, here I come.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mikie, one of the younger boys run around the corner. He saw me see him and knew he wouldn’t be able to get away.
“Crisco, Crisco, Fat in the can. You couldn’t catch me no matter how fast you ran,” he yelled laughing. If he was trying to make me mad, it worked. If he was trying to get me to leave the game, that worked, too. If he was trying to make me ashamed. Bingo, that worked, as well.
I stomped inside angry at the tauntings of a three-year old. I vowed never to play with the little kids again.
Of course, they didn’t care. They went on playing.
I told myself I wasn’t fat. In reality I wasn’t a chubby kid, but I sure felt fat. “Crisco, Crisco fat in the can” churned around and around in my head for decades after that incident.
I know now, it wasn’t Mikie’s words so much as the Accuser’s words who used that situation as a launching pad to build a wall of shame in my life. I was guilty of eating more that I should have, even as a kid. I’d sneak candy and cookies whenever I could.
The guilt of what I did, turned into shame which said, “You are what you did. You are fat. You are shameful. You are horrible donut monster.”
Shame followed me. I never could quite shake it. I never really understood until much later, even after becoming a Christian, that grace is the trump card that does away with shame. Jesus stands as my Advocate Who says, maybe you have done some things wrong. Let’s look at those and talk about what we can do to work on them.
For some reason the screaming voice of the Accuser was much louder than the calm, quiet voice of the Advocate who gave me advice and answers. He was grace personified, asking for me to turn from the things causing me shame.
Here’s the thing about grace. When I was seven years old, I understood that I when I accepted Christ as my savior I got grace for all my sins, past, present and future. I just figured if I followed all the rules the church laid down, I’d not have future sins.
I didn’t take into account eating whatever I wanted until I gained a tremendous amount of weight as sin. For me it was sin because back in 1977 when I prayed about my weight issue God told me what to do. It came during a prayer time. I journaled my prayer and His response, which was to “Stop eating sugar. Don’t eat so much bread. Eat more meat, fruits and vegetables.”
It took over 30 years and coming to the end of my rope before I followed what He said. I was in disobedience all of that time because I didn’t follow what I know He told me to do.
Through this journey I’ve learned quite a few things about grace. Here are a few.
God’s grace covers me no matter what I do wrong.1
God’s grace sent Christ to the cross so I don’t have to live in guilt and shame.2
God’s grace propels me forward when I repent of things I have done wrong.3
God’s grace tells me I am worthy of God’s love because I am in Christ and He is worthy.4
God’s grace is present so I can receive the gifts He has designed for me to be able to complete His assignment on my life.5
For years all I could see was a wall of shame built of donuts, cakes and cinnamon rolls, processed sugar and refined flour.
I couldn’t see God’s grace. There was this giant barrier I had built between God and me. It felt like He was jumping up and down, standing on His tippy toes trying to peek over the mountain of junk, waving His arms and saying, “Hey I’m over here. Just tell this wall to move and it will. Then you can see Me completely.”
Moving the wall, even if I could figure out how, was really, really scary because it had become my comfort zone.
I don’t know what wall you’ve built between you and God. I don’t know if you even have a wall, but I would like you right now, just to stop wherever you are and ask Father God if there is some area of disobedience in your life towards Him.
Close your eyes and repeat after me, “Father God is there any area of disobedience between You and me?” Then listen carefully for the first thing you hear, see or feel cross your mind.
Now, ask Father God, “Of what is the wall made?” Once again listen for the first thing you see hear or feel.
Finally, ask, “Father God, how can the wall be removed?” He might give you a tool to tear down the wall. He might tell you something you need to do for the wall to be removed. He might show you the wall being removed.
The important part about this exercise is to understand that God desires there to be nothing between you and Him. Many times we erect barriers because we’re not sure about who God is or what He wants to do in our life.
Let me be clear about this. God is grace. He longs for a solid connection with you. Repent and move on. He doesn’t want the wall of shame to define you. He would rather He define you completely.
One more question to ask Him, “Father God, who am I in light Your grace?” I’d love for you to share with me what you feel He showed you in answer to that question.
1 Ephesians 1:7-8
2 John 3:16-18
3 Romans 5:20
4 Romans 3:23-26
5 1 Peter 4:10
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.