I feel like our dogs end up at the vet every other month. If it’s not for a routine check, we’re there because Eli’s seizures are flaring up or he’s not feeling up to par. The other day though it was my daughter’s dog, Macs (a little three-pound Yorkie who self-identifies as a pit bull). To keep this post rated ‘E for EVERYONE’ I won’t go into a detailed description of his medical issue, but I will tell you his back half was suffering irritably so without delay I loaded him up and took him in. Turns out he’ll be fine; doc fixed him up and sent him home with two different types of meds….and since he’s a chewer and a licker he also got a free prize!!!….a plastic necklace AKA the cone of shame….
The poor little guy looks pathetic trying to tote along this protruding piece of plastic (that’s half his size). When he walks, he now has a waddle and his head bobs from side to side, almost resembling a swagger-type strut; but his face and eyes droop, revealing a true depressive temperament. (I wish I could attach a video to give you a good laugh but apparently I’d have to upgrade my WordPress account so just imagine Ace Ventura’s awkward stride and you’ll have a good idea!) And to top it off it’s been snowing a lot here, so when Macs goes out for potty breaks you can imagine the “snow-cone” humor from my kids.
I feel bad for him, but in a canny sense I’m reminded of the many times I’ve mentally and emotionally worn my own cone of shame for a lengthy period of time…when I’ve caught myself nagging at my husband over petty things, harping on my kids when really I’m the one in need of an attitude check, or when I allow the lies that I’m ugly (because of my past) to fester…the list goes on and Satan quickly steps in and says, “here my pet, you’ve messed up again, let me firmly place this cone of shame around your neck—keep your head down, don’t look around, just focus on your pity and the extra weight you carry, and most importantly medicate yourself with an extra dose of embarrassment and shameful thoughts and feelings. Now stay put!! And remember your key diagnosis is shame.”
…Here’s the beautiful thing though, “cones of shame” whether on a dog or on us (in a mental denotation of course) aren’t meant to be permanent!!
It’s in these moments of shame we must look at our state of condition with a new perspective. Even if our cone seems hopeless with a circumference the size of a pin needle, Jesus is right there and He can still work us through our situation when we seek Him for forgiveness. We can then see purpose beyond the shameful cone.
The truth and positive outlook regarding a cone of shame is this:
- It’s a direct effect of the cause (in other words you can typically identify what caused the shame once you feel it, which means no guessing games, making it quicker to tackle and fix the problem)
- Perhaps the most obvious, a cone of shame will force you to look forward (you have no other choice honestly)
- It’s temporary (there is light at the end of the tunnel…or cone😉)
- It’s purpose is to work towards strength and healing (even if it has to be a slow process)
We aren’t meant to remain in a cone of shame, our dog or ourselves! Shame just simply, but skillfully, serves a temporary purpose—to pinpoint or recognize the mess created, correct it, and get healed in the midst. And the quicker we allow Jesus to heal that shame the quicker we’re released from its grip. Such a beautiful reality…
Unfortunately some never look past the rim of the cone of shame, some feel stuck.
I’ve been there. Too many times to count.
But as I draw closer to my Master, I know and trust when the shame longs to define me, the One who graciously releases the cone of shame’s tension is right in view ready to free me of the burden.
Maybe you’re currently struggling over shame…but check out this promise of hope—if you’re reading this post, you’re looking beyond the cone of shame right now in this very moment and here is what God’s word says regarding your pain…
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 103:8-12 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Now remove that cone of shame and take a long refreshing drink from the One who offers an endless supply of living water and eternal life.
(Read John 4:1-42 The Woman at the Well for extra studying)