A few weeks ago, when I was in prayer, I saw Jesus walk across a field, in plaid lumberjack clothes and work boots, with a huge shiny axe on His shoulders. Before Him was a massive tree, 200 feet tall and at least 10 feet thick, towering high against the blue sky.
Etched in giant letters was one word: SHAME.
Getting to work, Jesus began swinging his axe, effective, relaxed, paced, swinging first on one side of the tree, then on the next. Feeling useless, I politely asked, “Can I help?”
Jesus looked up at me and smiled. “Surrender would be good.”
Unsure how to perform that request, I cast my gaze behind Jesus and noticed a large acreage of trees, 2 feet wide and some fifty feet tall, planted in straight long lines, all equally etched with the same word, shame. Curiously, I noticed that each were already notched at the base and understood it would be a quick felling. Once the giant tree toppled, every other tree in the forest would then fall, domino style.
Jesus smiled at my sudden understanding. As He swung blow upon blow, the large axe was apparently light in His strong hands. Even as He worked to finish the job, He seemed still attentive to me at His side, like when I was young and my dad worked outside, enjoying my company despite the sweaty task at hand.
After many minutes, crack upon crack, and blow after blow, with an ear-deafening crash, the tree crashed down. As the mighty log rolled hard, wood debris flew as tree after tree toppled until the once planted acreage stood still and empty.
Sudden butterflies flitted joyously across a glorious meadow, now visible with the dark forest removed. I breathed in sudden sweet air, amazed by the spacious glory teaming with cheerful bluebells and bright buttercups and snowy daisies as soft tall grass swayed gently in the soft breeze. Then, throughout the bright meadow, strong young maples, hip high, grew with quiet tenacity. Though just a few feet tall, I sensed they belonged here as the intended growth, and would grow as tall strong maples in the sunshine.
The shame forest was no more. As I watched in wonder, I pondered what the vision meant, and how surrender and shame and Jesus were all connected.
I wondered where to start and looked up Brene Brown, a straight-shooting Texan therapist and Ted talk sensation, who studies shame and vulnerability. Dr. Brown described shame as the Critic which intimidates, keeping us each from offering our God-breathed unique design to a world desperate for what we carry.
Dr. Brown passionately outed shame as the number one ingredient of defeat for humanity which kills innovation and creativity and thwarts positive change.
Shame keeps us hidden. Shame curls around the doorways of our destiny and bullies us into believing we are not worthy, we are disqualified. Shame shouts do not enter.
In her talk, Brene Brown says shame hollers only two questions: who do you think you are and what will people do when they find out the truth about you, that you are not good enough?
Shame says: I am bad, I am a mistake.
Shame is a liar and most often, uses our voice to speak those lies within.
Brown offers a tough community based solution to the shame epidemic: Just as secrecy, silence and judgement powerfully grows shame, Brown states, “To find our way back to each other, empathy is the antidote to shame…The two most powerful words when we are in struggle (is)”me too””.
Oh, the power of a sudden epiphany: Surrender!
Surrender to the Lumberjack to fell the trees of shame in our lives.
Surrender to walking with honesty, in vulnerability with those whom we love.
Surrender to the truth: shame is crowding the land intended for other purposes. It’s time to do whatever it takes to become whom God has made us to be. Only God has the axe, the power, the grace to bring the freedom we need.
Surrender to the loving God who already has notched all the shame trees in our life, always intent on felling the lies, always delighting to place us in spacious places full of Sonshine and joy.
“Surrender would help” Jesus said to me.
Hebrews 12: 1-2 statesTherefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
O Jesus, mighty Lumberjack, You felled shame on a bloody cross once for all mankind.
We are designed for You, to enjoy You and be enjoyed as the unique marvelous one of a kind creation You have made us. Help us surrender to You and bravely dare to live honest vulnerable lives. Help us see Your eyes of such love to our distress. Help us hear Your “Me, too.” to our pain. O, Lord Jesus, beloved Friend and Saviour, thank You.