When Jesus says to lay our burdens down, I think one of the heaviest burdens he is referring to is shame.
When Jesus took on our sin, he did it with the full understanding of why we sinned, the hole we were trying to fill, and what hurts carved out that hole to begin with. We were locked in a cell, a life sentence, and he decided – ENOUGH! He did not simply excuse the life sentence, he served it for us. Then he opened the door of our prison cell to set us free. And yet many of us choose to stay there in our cell, a condemnation of our own making.
When I let shame fester, I am filled with self-contempt. Ironically, this is a form of pride. It’s me saying to God that somehow his solution is simply not good enough for the likes of me. It is me saying that my view of myself is more reliable than his view of me.
Choosing the cage of shame is sad and small. Free life is offered to us, but we stay in a dark, dank room because we decide we don’t deserve freedom. We didn’t earn it. Oh, dear – there’s that pride again. If we earn something, we can hold it up to the world – look at me! I did this! When it’s a gift, the giver gets all the credit.
“Shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling.” ~Brené Brown
To reject this precious gift of freedom is to be like the fearful servant who buried his poor little talent in the ground. We despise the very gift that cost Jesus so dearly. We take LOVE and stuff it in a box and hide it in the back of our closet. Now that is a shame.
What if we took our “talents”, our freedom, the grace we have been granted, and invested it all in life, expansive and fearless and full of mercy for our family and friends, for ourselves, for our enemies? What if love became our filter instead of shame? That is the kind of laid-down-before-Jesus life I am after.
Nothing is out of the bounds of his grace.