I was talking to a friend recently about fear, doubt, and faith. We’ve both come to realize that having and expressing our “shameful” feelings is better than hiding them or trying to conquer them. But then my friend paused.
“I feel like God is coming closer to me, and I am away.”
“You’re going away from Him?”
“Yes.” After a half hour of confident expression, she’d finally said something that she was ashamed of.
I’ve gotten to know this friend well over the past several months. I know that she struggles to be close to people, and that she would prefer to have fortress-like walls around herself to keep herself safe. So I immediately realized:
“Maybe it’s a good thing.”
“To run away from God??”
“Yeah. Because that’s how you treat people. When they get too close, you run away, right?”
“So if you run away from God when he gets closer, that means you see him as a person. Otherwise you could just keep going through the motions of “serving” God and assume that he’s some lifeless thing to manipulate. You’re acting like you’re in a real relationship. That’s pretty awesome.”
“I mean, let’s not stop here. I want you to be in a place where you feel safe with God. But I do think it’s a really good sign!”
My favorite thing in the whole world is to turn shame into hope. It’s much easier for me to do this for other people, so I’m writing this here both to encourage others and to remind myself that it’s true.