Recovery 9 minutes to read

Not sure if you’re anything like me, but music holds a unique place in my soul. It speaks to me differently than any other form or medium of communication.

I’ve often described it as the language of my soul when expressing to others just how important music is to me.

The longer I’ve been on this earth, I’ve come to see that I’m far from alone in this experience. And I think God intended it.

You look at the Psalms, you study the biblical cultures––the artform of songs and singing are laced through it all.

There are times in my life where a song cuts right through the hard outer shell of my pride, self-preservation, and projection of having it all together. When this happens, I am overcome with emotion and I feel out of control. This is difficult for me to experience because I like me some control in my life.

But over the last few years, I’ve seen that when God retakes the reins of my life, I may feel out of control for a period of time, but overall, I experience more of His love, His adoration, and His longsuffering grace toward me.

As we approach this Easter season, one of the things God has placed on my heart is the work to release the shame I carry. Release the shame of not measuring up. Release the shame of my past. Release the shame of my future failures.

And wouldn’t you know it? God reveals the way to release that shame through music. I wanted to share two songs that God has recently shown me and how they’ve helped me release the shame that creates a blockage in my soul.


GOD KNOWS (MUST BE LOVE)

Andrew Ripp

Andrew Ripp, my favorite musical artist, paints a beautiful picture of the reality of God’s knowledge of me. Right from the first verse, he sets the stage for this:

You know my secrets

You know my every thought

You know the things I’ve done

You know my struggle

My lonesome wretched heart

You know the things I’ve done

God knows all of it. Every nook and cranny of my heart. Every deep, dark corner of my soul that I’ve never shown anyone. He knew it from the beginning of time (Ps. 139:13) and still decided to send His Son Jesus to take my place. This is the radical nature of the Gospel message––God saved me at my darkest place (Rom. 5:8).

Then the chorus builds right from this:

Only love would take me back again

When I’ve been caught with blood on both my hands

There’s no good reason that I could understand

It must be love, God knows, God knows it must be love

God knows it must be love

With only love in His heart, God chose to take me back again while my hands were covered with the blood of my sin. I was caught in the act of my wretchedness and God looked on me with love and affection. And what Andrew catches perfectly is that the love of God makes no sense––“There’s no good reason that I could understand.

It doesn’t compute. ERROR ERROR is what the screen reads when we try to understand God’s love and affection toward a bloodied, sinful creature that He created.

But God, knowing what we would do, how we would act, the things we’d say—all of it—still made a decision to pursue us in love. A decision. He wasn’t compelled by some outside force or made to do something against His own will. He DECIDED to pursue you and me because of His love for us.

Shame = release!

The second verse, though, describes my human heart and how I try to fix everything:

You know I’m reaching

You know I try so hard

To fix all the things I’ve done

Every mistake

Every disaster

When I run away

Love’s running faster

I reach, I try harder, I work to fix all the things I’ve done. I do this because I want to save face. I want to present myself as worthy of God, worthy of saving. I want to make up for what I’ve done so God will maybe, just maybe, give me an ounce of credit or the nod that I deserve some praise for my efforts.

NOPE.

Even in my puny attempts to tweak God’s perspective of my sin, my darkness, my addiction, He sees right through it.

Here’s the interesting thing that was revealed to me while listening to verse two: in my attempts to fix what I’ve done, I’m not running toward God, I’m running away.

When I try to make up for my initial running away from God, I’m actually running away from God, just in another direction. I’m not running toward God when I’m trying to make up for my sin because my motivation is selfish and done with the hopes of alleviating my own shame.

But the lessons of this song didn’t stop after verse two. Just like every good bridge in any good song, the words pierce even deeper, giving us an even more dramatic look at the truth.

Every mistake, every disaster

When I run away, love’s running faster

Every mistake, every disaster

When I run away, love’s running faster

Every mistake, every disaster

When I run away, love’s running faster

Some of us can tend to get annoyed by the repetition of songs. Why do we have to sing or listen to the same words 18 times before we get back to the chorus?

Well, I know for me, it’s because I can be so dense that it takes repetition for something to actually make it from my head to my heart.

Regardless of my mistakes, the disasters I leave in my wake, God pursues me. I love the imagery here: when I run away, love’s running faster. God’s love is faster than my rebellion, my shame, my sin. God’s love overtakes and demolishes our shame. Releasing us to basque in the beautiful, makes-no-sense type of love that He shares with us.

I’m thankful to Andrew for writing such a simple yet powerful song.

STEP INTO THE LIGHT

Passion ft. Sean Curran

I, like most people, know that Passion always creates beautiful and powerful songs that reach our hearts with God’s grace and love. But this one is brand new and spoke directly to my heart.

In the depths of our addiction––I mean the deepest, darkest stuff––we live in pure darkness. Isolated, alone, fearful of being exposed for the fraud we deem ourselves to be. We would rather rot away in the darkness of our own mess than risk bringing that mess into the light and allowing God to clean it up for us.

But as most of us know, God won’t clean it up if we don’t bring it to Him.

This song masterfully crafts the experience of someone caught in the shame cycle that we so often slip in to and what life is like when we finally emerge from the shadows of our own sin and brokenness and ask God for His help.

The pre-chorus reveals how we truly do step out of the darkness and into God’s light:

Oh sweet redemption

The Heart of heaven

It’s setting all things right

It’s setting all things right

Oh sweet redemption

Oh, how it beckons

It whispers to the night

It’s not our own effort, our own strength that brings us out of the darkness. It’s God’s redemptive love that, as Sean sings, beckons us to bring all of ourselves out of the darkness. But I love even more the picture that the last line of the pre-chorus reveals: God whispers sweetly into the darkness, asking us to trust Him, to believe He can help us in our deepest and darkest secrets and with the shame we carry.

Step into the light

Step into the light

The darkness can’t survive the fire in His eyes

So step into the light

Step into the light

You were never meant to hide

You are made to be alive

So step into the light

One of the biggest fears I had when first exposing my sexual sin to others was that the darkness I carried was too deep, too powerful for God to overcome. I knew in my head this wasn’t true, but deep in my soul, it’s what I truly believed. Surely, God can’t redeem this in me. It’s way too messed up.

But the words of this song speak right to the power God has: The darkness can’t survive the fire in His eyes. As I heard these words, they echoed John 1:4:

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:4

The wonderful truth about God’s light is that no matter how dark my life or my sin gets, His light will ALWAYS SHINE THROUGH.

I love when songs talk about shame. It makes me feel better knowing I’m not alone in my daily struggle to battle the shame I carry. Whether it’s past or current decisions, shame can often become the silent companion that we travel with. But the beautiful truth of God’s grace and love is that it covers my shame and releases me from the power and stronghold it has over my life.

Look at the words of verse two:

My shame, it doesn’t slave me

Cause it doesn’t own me

For the first time

But I finally found my healing

And it feels like breathing

For the first time, for the first time, oh!

Oooooooooohhhhhhh! 

Do you see that? My shame, it doesn’t slave me. 

Why? Cause it doesn’t own me. 

Oooooooooohhhhhhh! That’s the fire I need to start my day!

My shame doesn’t enslave me because my shame doesn’t own me.

Dang dang dang!

But I finally found my healing. And it feels like breathing. For the first time.

Man, this song got me shook! This verse shows me that the chains of shame that I choose to pick up and wear around all day don’t have to be the garments of my soul. I don’t have to pick up the shame off the floor and wear it around.

It’s like a professional athlete that signs a shoe deal with Nike. You are contractually obligated to wear Nike everything. In no uncertain terms, they own you and part of your career. But let’s be honest, you and I are not professional athletes. And we are not contractually obligated to carry the shame that wants to sit on our shoulders all the day long.

We can, we should, we have to consciously leave the shame on the floor and believe that God has healed us from the power of our shame. He’s given us the pure oxygen of His grace, mercy, and acceptance for the lungs of our soul.

And because of this, we can step into the light without fear of rejection. We step boldly into the light and breathe deep the Father’s affection for us.


Regardless of how much of your shame you choose to pick up off the floor each day, you don’t have to carry it. Christ, in His profound and, as Andrew Ripp said, “no good reason that I could understand” type of love, released and continues to release the shame that so easily latches on.

Basque in the goodness and the beauty of the truths that lie at the core of these songs. Keep the amazing and powerful truths of Easter at the center of your thinking. Allow God to sing over you as you listen to these songs and believe that God Knows you and still asks you to Step Into The Light anyway.