No Shame

No Shame

I heard the therapist say, shame is probably the biggest emotion he carries day to day. I didn’t get it then, but now I do. We were both familiar with shame. It had pitched its tent in my heart many times only to stay for a short while. The difference was, shame had moved into his heart like a stronghold.

Over time the silence and secrets of shame hardened like the cast of a statue, where life would stream out for a moment only to be greeted by another stone placed strategically in it’s path. His life began to form it’s own theater. This must have been easier for him, as facing reality meant welcoming and ushering in and out the smorgasbord of emotions that shame kept buried. It was there deep in his soul where unworthiness grew, where God had deemed him whole, yet he believed himself unlovable. In this place, mistakes and his past danced wildly in the shadows, mocking his very being, reminding him of his worthlessness. Now when I look back I can see it, the darkness for what it was, sitting there in silence grimacing back at us all. With it’s lies stripping away life from the inside out.

I am no longer naïve to the work of shame. I have seen it, alive, fighting to threaten lives like on a battlefield. So, I vow to fight back and take control with confidence that God is more than enough, that he sees me and you as whole, no matter our faults, mistakes, and fantastic failures. I will be empathetic with myself and those I love, I will listen, I will seek to understand, I will refrain from judging, I will share my story, I will laugh in the face of rejection, I will welcome guilt and ask for forgiveness for my behavior when necessary, I will seek out safe places to unearth my secrets that feed the sickness of shame. I will approach each day knowing I am enough and so are you. When I step out to make a difference in the world and the nagging question “who do you think you are?” resonates in my head, I will pick myself just as God has. I will rip off the labels that keep the light from streaming through the awesome cracks earned in my imperfect life here on earth. And in these ways I will beat shame at it’s game and really live life.

10 ways to embrace the Bnote message

1. Create a safe space to hold on to, listen understand the story of someone who is ready to share with you. I love the idea of double confidentiality offered in Courage to Lead where no one can talk about the issue again unless the storyteller brings it up. Something you might agree upon or not if you have an opportunity to care for someone in this way.
2. Besides your conversations with God, your most important conversation is with yourself. Speak kindly.
3. When someone is doing something that seems crazy, there is usually a reason, offer compassion.
4. Be aware of the difference between guilt and shame. Simply stated guilt might sound like “I made a mistake”, shame speaks like this, “I am a mistake”.
5. Share a bnote with someone; it’s a great reminder!
6. Pray for someone today and if you are able, take action to love them.
7. Resist accepting the labels others give you or that you give yourself and resist placing labels on anyone else. I love that Pastor Drew said, “give the label maker to the rightful owner, God”.
8. Brene’ Brown shares that shame cannot live in a petri dish full of empathy. Practice empathy.
9. Forgive someone or forgive yourself.
10. Believe that shame is not anyone’s destiny.

Let us know what is your favorite on this list? Or add a way to embrace the Bnote message, there are way more than 10!