The bad one first.
Instead of finding my identity in Christ’s forgiveness of me, His giving me new life and a spiritual home and family, I often cling to and locate my worth in being respected and admired by others. My family, my peers, even strangers. It’s sin, it’s harmful, and I’m in a long process of repentance over it. God has showed it to me time and again, but I’m stubborn and stupid, and so I continue to go after this thing as though it’ll make me truly happy.
So, three times in the last two weeks He’s let me get humiliated. Or at least each one felt like humiliation. The nature of the breakdowns doesn’t matter, but they were painful. Embarrassment, shame, and self-loathing crushed me for hours and hours after each one. When you were in school, did you ever have a project to present and thought that you had one more day to go home and knock the thing out but then, as the class started, heard the teacher say, “All right let’s start the presentations with _______,” and look at you? They were like that.
So, after at least one of these rough moments I felt crippling shame. I felt lifeless. I wanted to crawl into a hole.
What you worship is the thing that, if taken from you, you’d fee like you couldn’t go on.
Okay, so now the good thing that happened.
We moved. We bought our first house. I’ve never lived in one place more than three years, and now I have a real “permanent address” to put on all those forms for the very first time. So I sat on the front porch of our rented house in the morning sun last Saturday, waiting on the U-Haul and my friends and family, and I thought about how my kids probably won’t ever have the moving day jitters. When I was growing up, we moved every couple of years, and I remember that nervous happiness of getting to start over somewhere. There was a fun, hopeful anticipation of a new neighborhood, and a new home.
So as I waited for the moving day help, that good thing helped to drown the bad one. I started to feel my shame and self-loathing get a little duller, like when a toothache or a pinched nerve or a migraine starts to slip after you’ve taken a painkiller. And thankfully I was either too tired or too blessed to fight it. The moving jitters, maybe the last set I’d ever have, reminded me of something good and true: Those of us who love Christ are going home. For real home.
There will be a day of great anticipation and seriousness and excitement and goodness that will be much brighter and better than that sunlit morning when I was waiting to show my kids their new crib. A day is approaching where the King will remake the earth and her stars, and then put His people in her brightest city, lit to the high heavens by Him. We’ll love each other and be loved by each other, love Jesus and be loved by Jesus. We’ll sing and we’ll pray and we’ll serve and we’ll be served, and every last cause for shame and guilt and fear will be thrown out into the darkness.
That home is coming.
Where there is no sin, there is no shame. Where there are no false gods, there is no fear.
Our Jesus is coming to give us and be for us all we could ever possibly need, and everything we should want.
I’ll wrestle with my embarrassment tonight, but I wanted to remind myself of that, and remind you, too.
For those of us who have trusted in Jesus, home is around the corner.