Part Two continues from my sweet, in-real-life friend, Julia Curry, who is guest-posting and featuring a series on the topic of “shame”…
In the first post we looked at the origins of shame and examples of how it can manifest. By now you may realize that it is indeed a sneaky foe rearing it’s ugly head in both subtle and overt ways.
Today we will talk about the lies that keep shame alive, our tendency to hide and how we break agreements with shame.
Lies that perpetuate shame can follow us right into adulthood and eventually construct a stronghold in our minds. A stronghold is a fortress of thought that exalts itself above God’s truth. Below are some compiled by author and teacher, Craig Hill:
- What I feel is wrong (anger, hurt, loneliness, sadness, joy etc)
- It is selfish and wrong to have a need or ask a favor
- It is wrong to express a contrary opinion
- I should never allow myself to make a mistake
- I canʼt go out of the house without looking just right.
- When I do my best, its not enough
- Iʼm here to be abused by men
- I must be a “good” person. Good is coded word which actually means perfect to
Good/perfect can be perceived:
- Never inconvenience others
- Never embarrass or disappoint others
- Never have a need or become obligated to others
- Do everything perfectly the first time without teaching or practice.
- Let others see only what is practiced and perfect.
- Never have a critical thought of others
- Never lose at anything
- Never get less than an “A” in school
- Do everything your are asked and donʼt complain
- Thrive on instability, chaos and stress
- Remember only the happy times
Can you identify with any of these lies? I encourage you to invite The Lord into the process of looking through this list. Let His light illuminate where you may have agreement.
The Courage to Become
If we live by these lies, we will live a life of hiding. That life will become smaller and smaller and our growth will remain stunted.
Hiding keeps us in slavery to the false self’s agenda, which seeks to escape reality and run to false fulfillment and appearance management.
Our true Christ nature is always in the process of becoming. The fancier word would be “sanctification.” Often, we want “fast-food” spirituality where we are fixed here and now without suffering or stripping away of what is false. We are lured to look like we have it all together and we secretly fear that our “yet-to-be redeemed” nature will be rejected by others if exposed. We can even fear the responsibilities that come with not being a “victim” anymore. Growing up in Christ is not always the easiest option, to say the least! Perhaps educator Jean Houstan says it best by stating, “soul-making is not necessarily a happy thing.” Sometimes, we can enter into paradoxes that can be unnerving.
I have wrestled for years with the tensions created by practicing the slow release of self-loathing and image-management. I thought I needed to make Jesus look good by performing well as a Christian. I believed that I had to be attractive and helpful to be valued – the list goes on and on. Quite frankly, my focus was often on my behaviors and not on Him. As a result, I would fall short, and the lie that “I was not enough” would be fueled.
But I wanted to prove otherwise and the cycle would continue.
Coming Home To Our “True Self”
There’s a traditional Hasidic tale in which a rabbi named Zusya dies and went to stand before the judgment seat of God. As he waited for God to appear, he grew nervous thinking about his life and how little he had done. He began to imagine that God was going to ask him, “Why weren’t you Moses or why weren’t you Solomon or why weren’t you David? But when God appeared, the rabbi was surprised. God simply asked, Why weren’t you Zusya?
How do we let go of what is “false” and live from our “true self?” First of all “letting go” isn’t one step – it’s many. The following are some qualities of the “True Self” adapted by Dr. James Masterson and Mario Bergner ( I added a few)…
The “true self” will:
A) Accept without shame that we are both saint and sinner
B) Freely love God, self and others.
C) Experience life first-hand, with a wide range of positive feelings including joy and spontaneity. Focused on the here and now.
D) Soothe painful feelings with healthy ways of dealing with pain, such as the support of others
E) Responsibly makes and sticks to commitments
F) Suffer with a redemptive focus on The Cross of Christ
G) Forget about the self in serving others
H) Accept responsibility
I) Be compassionate
J) Possess a passion for peace and justice
Join us tomorrow for the last installment of this powerful series in which we will look at how we can get “Shame Off Of Us” and fight this lie…