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Significant Encounters 2022 #6 Shame

Significant Encounters is a place for you if you have experienced drama and trauma in your life.

It’s a place of encouragement for you.

A place where you know that someone is in your corner.

A soft place to land.

Shame = A pervasive, negative emotional state, usually originating in childhood, marked by chronic self-reproach and a sense of personal failure.

Shame causes us to lose our dignity. Being relentlessly shamed in early life can cause us to grow up without that sense of dignity, or self-esteem.  

It’s an attack on what we are, as opposed to what someone wanted us to be.

Taunting because of attributes we cannot control. Physical, mental, abilities, or even shame because of earlier actions.  

My adopt=a=dad always made fun of my feet.

Truthfully, they are big. Another truth is I’m a tall girl. If my feet were any smaller, I would fall over. My little girl heart did not realize that.

My little girl heart only knew that my “gunboats”, “bigfeet”, and in some cases, “black feet”, were a cause for shame. I spent much time covering them up. What a blessing when bell bottoms were all the rage!

Here is what Brené Brown has to say about Shame and Guilt. It is one of the best descriptions I’ve heard.

According to Brené Brown, shame is insecurity that attaches to self-identity and gets in the way of action or vulnerability. It causes people to believe that they’re unworthy or unlovable.

For example, if you feel shame about the way you look, and someone rejects you romantically, you may believe that you’re not “attractive enough,” diminishing your self-worth in the process.

Guilt Versus Shame – Guilt is attached to an action or behavior, not your identity. Guilt makes you say, “That was a bad decision.” Guilt can be a useful tool to stop making poor decisions.

For example, an alcoholic feeling guilt about a relapse usually won’t give up on recovery because, while they know they made a bad decision, they don’t believe they’re a “bad person.” 

Shame is attached to identity, not to an action or behavior. Shame makes you say, “I am a bad person.” Shame often causes people to fall further into unhealthy behavior.

For example, an alcoholic feeling shame about their relapse will often spiral further into their addiction because they believe they’re irredeemable.

Shaming, on the other hand, is a pointed attack that targets someone’s insecurities. 

For example, your partner comes home late one night. You know they’re upset that they haven’t been able to spend time with the family, but you’re exhausted and frustrated. You begin yelling at them for spending too much time at work and not enough time with the kids, causing them to fall deeper into their shame.”

Many kinds of trauma can cause shame; divorce, failure, rape, bankruptcy, and the list goes on.

Ask God to show you how your life experiences have caused you to think less of yourself than God has made you.

Your dignity may have suffered, but realize that part of the work of God in your life is to restore you to wholeness in your concepts about yourself.

Isaiah 54:4 Thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth.

Our emotions are damaged when we are shamed. We may often feel, lost, hurt, or un-valuable.

We’ve all heard “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, but the truth is that the emotional pain of shame, can cause actual physical symptoms.

It can mess up our sleep, our digestive tract, and our nervous system.

Since it may be easier to cover rather than to confront that shame, we may choose to medicate it instead. Sex, drugs, alcohol, shopping, rage.

We select overindulgences, and compulsions of all kinds to fill the space left in our souls by shame.

After trying to fill those holes with these things, we often feel a sense of guilt for our overdoing. It is a vicious cycle. (Remember? Cycles that repeat themselves?)

Jesus bore our shame by being publicly beaten unrecognizable, spit on, mocked, whipped, and nailed to the Cross.  

Have you ever suffered shame at the hands, actions, or words of others?

Well, Jesus made everyone He came into contact with, feel better about themselves. Even the adulteress and the tax collector, the murderer, and the roman soldier felt valuable. The rejection they felt, melted away by Jesus’ gift on that cross.

Isaiah 53:3-5 (TLB) We despised him and rejected him—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we didn’t care. Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed!

Using the following steps will help you along the way to healing.

Remember Jesus was SHAMED for ALL of us.

He so wants to help us to be whole.

To release us from our prison, and heal our hearts.

  • Release what you cannot change -Don’t waste your precious energy on things that you can do nothing about.
  • Take steps towards change – If you CAN change it, then take a step. Doing what you have always done will not help you to get anywhere!
  • Tell your heart the right things– The world we live in constantly sends us messages that we are unhappy; We never have enough; We’ll never BE enough. It causes us to always be in a state of longing for something we don’t have, when really what we need is peace on the inside of us!
  • Have a chat with God each morning – It does not have to be elaborate, or even very intelligible because He can read your heart. It can be as simple as “Good morning God. What are we doing today?” Just make the effort, so that He can meet you where you are.

I hope this has been helpful to you, and that you’ll join me here again next time.

Until then ….