To love someone truly will require unconditional love. To love ourselves truly require nothing less than to love ourselves unconditionally.

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When I want to think through unconditional love I must also search for what my conditions are:

  1. What can my daughter do to make me stop rooting for her to get up if she falls. Nothing
  2. What can my daughter do to make me think that she is beyond God’s reach. Nothing
  3. What can we disagree about that will trump the love and laughter we experienced. Nothing
  4. What can she do to make me call her a name. Nothing

What keeps so many of us from experiencing unconditional love is shame… Today I shared with my husband one of my former shame-based non-realities. It is former because I faced it and found the root of it. Growing up, no one called me names as a way to introduce shame into my space; it was how I saw someone treat themselves. I learned what to hide by observing other's body language, facial expressions, and attitude toward themselves.

I thought about the story in the Garden, how Adam and Eve were always naked, which means naked was normal at some point. Here’s a story of falling short of the glory of God – the shame that rode in on missing the mark, transgression, what it feels like when you let down someone you love. Not the shame we experience because of other's opinions. Anyway, Adam and Eve let God down and rather than trust the truth of how much they were loved, they hid.

  1. Shame is connected to who I am
  2. Guilt is connected to what I did
  3. Shame makes you want to hide
  4. Guilt makes you want to lie

If shame is connected to who I am (how others see me) rather than what I did, then how does one recover from shame? First I must do the work of distinguishing what I did from who I am. What negative “I am” labels have you created in an attempt to get from under the grips of shame?

Let’s take some tips from David in Ps 32:1-5… the context of Ps 32, David shares his inner anguish at unconfessed sin.

Ps 32:1-5 … Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord" — and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

  1. David begins with a thankful attitude, not an entitled servant.
  2. David acknowledges that his sins are covered by God (vs1). As a result David could begin the work of dismantling the stronghold he built when he was providing the covering. The work of his RECOVERY was in God’s hands now.
  3. David understood that covering his shame was God’s part, and his part was to enter this space with no deceit in his spirit. David did not focus on anyone else, it is his own silence that made it worse/linger.
  4. David acknowledges that it was God’s heavy hand. Blame is useless because while guilt is a legal issue (what I did), shame is a psychological issue (who I am). Therefore, shame cannot be remedied by blaming others.
  5. David recognizes that recovery from shame (distance created due to hiding) is realized in my connection to God and it starts with forgiveness … blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Think about the couple in the clip. Who will you be (not what will you do) when others find out you are not all they thought you were ... faking it ... or as my husband calls it “skinning and grinning?”

Look at what the Lord has for you:

Isa 54:4-5 … "Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 "For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.

What will it take for you to love yourself unconditionally?