Shame. Different people struggle to different extents with different negative feelings. Shame is one that I have to battle occasionally. It’s been said that most people think they’re better than average in many areas of life. I wouldn’t disagree. But at the same time, there are areas where we can feel less than. When I play the comparison game, there are many areas of my life that I feel below-average in. This gives me a lot to be ashamed about.
We don’t only hide from people, though. Often, we try to hide from God–our very Creator, and the Knower of all things. In everyday life, I don’t realize how stupid this is; but Tyler Joseph, lead singer in the band Twenty One Pilots, puts it pretty clearly as he cries out to God in the song “Screen“:
“I do not know why I would go
In front of you and hide my soul
‘Cause you’re the only one who knows it…
I’m standing in front of you
I’m trying to be so cool
Everything together trying to be so cool…
Don’t know why I think I can lie
‘Cause there’s a screen on my chest”
Friends, why do we try to be so “cool” for God? Our prayers don’t have to be pretty. We never have to put on a face for Him. He already knows and He just wants to hear it from us. Tyler Joseph again comes before God in “Run and Go“:
“Don’t wanna call you in the nighttime
Don’t wanna give you all my pieces
Don’t wanna hand you all my trouble
Don’t wanna give you all my demons
You’ll have to watch me struggle
From several rooms away…”
We never have to spare God the details. “Hiding” our pain from the Lord of the universe brings him pain–he knows our hurts. He hurts with us. He wants to offer comfort, but He doesn’t force us to open up to him.
“There’s a thorn you’ve been holding
And you can’t, you can’t let it go
I wish that I could stop the bleeding
But you won’t, you won’t let it show
I can’t wrestle with your demons
If you never let me see them
So I’m reaching across the Grand Canyon
Hoping you will take my hand.”
We don’t need to be ashamed before God. He’s not looking to use our confessions against us. He’s not laughing at our mistakes. He created us for more than shame. He wants us to feel known. He wants to take our hurts, our fears, and our shame and heal us. But He wants us that comfort to be our choice. Whatever you are most ashamed of, bring it before him. Open your heart–he knows it all anyway.
Pray honestly. Pray ugly. Be known.