Remember the children’s story, The Emperor Has No Clothes? Imagine how embarrassed that ruler was when he found he was parading all through town wearing nothing but his underwear! I can relate to that level of shame. You might be able to, as well. It wreaks havoc in our lives and keeps us from our destiny.
Who Will Tell the Truth?
Back to the emperor, he had trusted a couple of swindlers who sold him “fine clothing” that no one except those fit to reign could see. Even though the emperor couldn’t see the clothes, his court members said they could. Of course all of them were lying and so the emperor had to say he also saw how exquisite they were.
Once the tailors said the clothing was ready and were paid handsomely, the emperor “donned” his new clothes and paraded around town for all to see. His subjects acted like they could see the clothes. Who would say otherwise. They cheered and clapped.
One the little boy dared to say what everyone else was afraid to. “The emperor has no clothes on! The emperor is naked!” Then everyone began to snicker and laugh at the emperor, who ran back to his castle ashamed to be seen.
When I weighed 430 pounds, every time I went out into public I felt as unveiled as the emperor when he discovered he was actually not wearing any clothes.
I didn’t want to be seen. So I stayed home or I went to comfortable places like family gathering, trusted friends’ homes or church. In these locations, people were polite, like the subjects of the emperor who clapped and cheered as he walked around in his underwear. My family and friends knew I had a problem, they just didn’t point it out.
Every Sunday when I came into church, I’d look around to gauge whether or not I was the largest one there. If I was, I would choose a row at the back for our family to sit and then leave as fast as I could.
I especially didn’t want to be up front speaking. That was not on my bucket list. Last year, though, I actually spoke at a women’s event my church and I didn’t try to hide or run or leave. I enjoyed it.
It’s interesting that back in those years when I was extremely fat, I was always taking personality tests, strength finders test etc. Several years ago after I lost all my weight, I retook the tests.
Previously, my scores always ranked more on the introvert side. These days my scores are more on the extrovert side. I still get my energy from alone time when I can write, study and listen to God, but my desire to be with people has soared after losing 250 pounds.
There is one thing the emperor wearing his new clothes and me wearing all my fat have in common—shame. Shame will keep us stuck. Shame will keep us from stepping into our destiny. Shame is the devil’s weapon to try to counteract God’s grace.
Guilt and Grace
We are all guilty of doing something wrong that we would rather no one find out about. Whether it’s something as innocent as stealing candy from the grocery store or something bigger like continuing to eat and eat and eat and gain a tremendous amount of weight, guilt can wreak havoc in our lives.
When we confess what we’ve done, God’s grace swoops in to forgive us. He throws our sin into the deepest ocean (Micah 7:19 NLT) and removes it from us as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12 NLT). Then as we repent, He helps us learn how to walk in His newness (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV).
I’ve worked with many people who they think they are too far gone because they’ve gained 30, 50, 100, 200 pounds. It doesn’t matter how much they’ve gained they all feel guilt and shame when they go out in public.
One woman wouldn’t go to church . Another was scared of going to a wedding and having pictures taken. Another began her weight loss journey after seeing her picture as her in the wedding party. She knew that picture would be around for a long time. She wanted to paint a new picture of herself. So, she lost 100 pounds.
The Old Is Gone, The New Is Here
Before I wrote my memoir, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds, I went to a writer’s conference and met Wendy Walters, who has since become a great friend of mine. At the end of the conference she asked me, “What do you want this book to do for you?”
I said, “What do you mean?”
She said, “Many write a book to build their coaching business or as a way to promote themselves a speaker, or a business.”
“I don’t want to do any of that. All I want to do is write books.”
“Ok, we’ll go with that for now, but you will be coaching and speaking.”
Shame Has Blinders
Even though I had lost the weight by then, I still had the mindset of a very large woman. I didn’t want to be seen, didn’t want to have people picking me a part while I was standing in front of them.
God gave me the gift of writing and I had always been just fine sitting in a cubicle in a newspaper, denomination, church, school, business or hospital. I was fine if it was just my name on a article. I was still behind the scenes. That’s where I felt I belonged.
My friend, Wendy, has a prophetic gift. She saw what was ahead of me. She saw where God was taking me even though I didn’t want to see it The blinders were still on my eyes.
Even after losing weight I still carried the painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of my wrong and foolish behavior. That’s the exact definition of shame.
An End To The Story
There is no real end to the story of The Emperor Has No Clothes, but in my way of thinking there are two possible endings. He stayed in the castle ruling from afar, refusing to have an audience with anyone and ending his reign in despair.
Or, he learned from the situation, decided he could not live in shame, went before the people and let them know he had been duped by swindlers and asked their forgiveness. For the rest of his reign his kingdom flourished.
He stepped out of shame and into honesty, openness and transparency. That mindset continued to fuel his destiny.
Your Destiny Is Waiting
Evil forces major in shame because it keeps you hiding from everyone and everything. In turn, that keeps you from your destiny, your purpose. Just like my shame kept me from even considering speaking or coaching, both of which I am doing now. Your shame may be stealing your voice, keeping you running and making you hide and cower.
God, however, is ready for you to step into the place He has set aside just for you! “We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it” (Eph. 2:10 TPT).
Don’t let evil win. Hand your shame to God, along with the guilt of whatever has you stuck. He has a tremendous destiny waiting for you.
Join With the Overcomers
If you need help on the journey, check out Overcomer’s Community where we provide connection with others like you, encouragement, support, coaching and teaching.
Right now you can still join for $27/month through March 1. On March 2, the cost will go up. If you join now, the cost will never go up for you as long as you are in the community. Go HERE.
It’s time to come out of hiding and join with a group of folks all traveling in the same direction.
I look forward to seeing you in the group. Go HERE and join us today.