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Seeds of the Kingdom

Lift Your Gaze

by Annalene Holtzhausen

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
Psalm 34:5, NLT

The enemy uses many tactics to damage our relationship with our Father, often by filling our mind with lies that we eventually believe to be the truth. Sometimes we experience a moment in our lives that brings on a very deep sense of shame. It could be the result of being wronged by another person, or sometimes it’s because of the way you behaved or reacted in a situation.You are dumbstruck as to how and why you reacted the way you did, and you just want to hide. A shadow of darkness closes in, almost like a curtain that suddenly is drawn in front of you. Your whole being wants to retreat from life, people, and God - shame, disappointment, emotional pain and hopelessness take over.

Most of us grew up playing the ‘Snakes and Ladders’ board game where you move forward one square when your counter reaches a square with a ladder, but if you land on one with a snake’s head you get swallowed, and have to move back down to the square with the snake’s tail. And then you have to try once more to reach the final square without being swallowed again!

Maybe this is how you feel:‘at least I was learning, overcoming, growing in the Lord, but the next moment it’s as if a snake came and swallowed me and put me back on square 1. And all feels lost and hopeless’.

The worst thing about shame is that when this happens you often think you deserve to feel this way. Although you know you ought to be forgiving yourself and others, you can’t, because the truth is you’re judging yourself to be guilty and feel you’ve lost your integrity. How can you ever look into your Father's eyes again, you think, for surely He must agree with your own judgement of yourself? And so the cycle of lies begins! You know that you’ve been redeemed and seen as righteous in Him, but a shadow is now clouding your vision and judgement. Even the idea of sharing this with someone seems impossible, and you’re trapped. There’s turmoil within.

But the Lord comes alongside you and says: ‘Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks’ (Psalm 81:6). He longs to free you from your heavy burden, but you must choose to ask Him. He also says: ‘You must never have a foreign god; you must not bow down before a false god’ (Psalm 81:9).

Be careful. Don’t get so caught up in your situation that you actually end up ‘bowing down before’ a spirit of shame - this is part of the enemy’s tactic to get a hold on you. The Lord is your rock and your strong tower; your place of safety. Run to Him, He’s waiting for you:‘Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me,for you are my rock and my fortress’(Psalm 71:3).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You so much that You’re waiting for me to turn to You for help.Please deliver me from the enemy’s snare and remove the shadow from my face. I trust You to bring deep healing to my inner being and restore what the enemy has stolen. Thank You for Your radiant joy that You give so freely to those who trust in You! Amen.

Annalene Holtzhausen is on the Associate Team at Ellel, Africa. She is married to Renier, who introduced her to Ellel Ministries. She is a full-time mother to their two boys. Her passion is for the restoration of women’s hearts and for people to find their worth in the Lord.


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