The other night I drove to the coast. I had made a decision that had caused me a great deal of pain and I entertained the punishment I thought I deserved for hours. Although I told myself it wouldn’t be helpful to beat myself up about it, I began to rehearse words of shame,“ Now you did it, how stupid are you?” The phrases flew through my brain like fireworks, searing my heart. When I arrived at my destination, I walked into a roomful of colleagues. I caught the eye of a friend. We walked out to the deck and there in the quiet with a fresh breeze blowing, I decided to speak my pain. I spoke without taking a breath then silence sat, honoring my bravery. At the right moment, my friend spoke words like “I understand, I’m here, I’ll be right beside you and you aren’t alone” instead of words like “what were you thinking, why did you do that”? I had confessed thoughts of my perceived nothingness, my foolishness and in return heard there was nothing further from the truth. I was special, cared for, loved, normal, accepted and sane. I love my friends that allow me to be so courageous, who love me because I am willing to show my hand. Friends who remind me that when people act crazy, I too should offer compassion. I love that they are trustworthy.

I recently read, trust allows for vulnerability to take place and being vulnerable creates trust. I thought, “who knew?” and at the same time I thought, “of course”. We are not created to go it alone. God tells us he is waiting for us to be vulnerable, to speak our shame, he wants nothing more than to offer forgiveness, to ease our burdens, to say I understand I too walked mountains and valleys of earth and who wants to remind us of how priceless we are. And if that isn’t enough, he has placed people in our lives that can safely hold our moments of shame, creating connections that cease its dangerously corrosive nature. It’s these friends I am thankful for today, my friends who love me because of my vulnerabilities.

Today, say thank you to your Father, friend, family member, whomever you trust to listen as you speak your pain out of its secrecy, shattering shame.

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