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 ….

Significant Encounters 2022 #5 Lighten the Load

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.

The beginning of any journey seems the most difficult. What I’ve learned, what we ALL have learned, is that we may be packed and ready to go, but that baggage is heavy.

This journey will be no different. We are full of doubt and uncertainty.

Should I be doing this? Is it even possible to do this? Can I ever really be fixed, or have any peace? Am I even worth it?

We talked earlier about that doubt. We talked about the fact that God created us the way we are. Just the right way.

We may have even fully believed it when we learned this information.

As days go by, and life happens to us, that baggage seems to get too heavy to carry. (That seed fell on rocky ground)

We talked last time about choices. Choosing what we think about is possible. It is not always easy, but it is always possible.

 Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

So, what are His thoughts? The knowledge of God says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The Living Bible says that “These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons, I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5.

In other words, we don’t have to tolerate any word that says God created us differently than He did, those words are rebels, lies.

We have the ability to control what we think, and change it more to God’s liking.

We can CHOOSE to make it obey.

Now we read earlier that our thoughts are not His, but we can certainly make the choice to be thinking MORE like Him.

I’d be lying to you if I said that this is an easy turn to take. It’s not. My personal journey turned out to be long and arduous. Can I tell you though, that it was worth the effort?

Let’s talk about that baggage. This idea came not from me, but from a story that I heard at a conference told by Graham Cooke.

After hearing this story, I kept pondering it for days, weeks, perhaps even months, and it comes back every once in a while when I need it.

In my words, and in short form, the story was about baggage; Heavy baggage.

In the dictionary I looked up the word baggage, the third definition was this; Emotions or thoughts that stem from painful or unpleasant past experiences and that affect one’s outlook or behavior.

We all have it. Baggage.

And as Graham says, it was packed by an enemy that hates our guts.

It is heavy and unwieldy; Difficult to use or handle or manage because of size or weight or shape; and often impossible to move.

This baggage carries all the hurts, shames, humiliations, indignations, pains, unwarranted comments and criticisms, and any other things that have caused us to believe ourselves to be less than who God says we are.

Graham compared that baggage to what he called “Proper luggage”.  

Now proper luggage was packed for us by Someone who loves us dearly (that would be God), and wants us to have whatever we need to succeed on our journey, and would not think of putting things in that luggage that will just add weight.

Fast forward. After spending quite a little time with the baggage part, I woke up to another thought.

A thought that I could have only had with God’s help.

All this time, weeks? months? that I had been working through my baggage, and I realized that I wasn’t removing anything, I was simply rearranging what was already there.

Each rearrange gave me more room for more stuff. More weight.   

I learned that the only way that I was going to get anywhere, would be to get rid of the baggage, get some proper luggage, and repack. Pack well, with whatever God had in mind.  

This, my friend, was a choice that I had to make.

Do you see yourself here as well? Do you have a choice to make?

You know at the airport; extra baggage costs a lot to ship.

What did it cost me? What is it costing you?

Please make your choice sooner rather than later.

The steps are these, there could take more or less time depending on how heavy your baggage is.  

#1. Learn what God thinks about you in His word.

#2. Apply it to your life.

#3. Overcome bad thoughts from your previous life.

#4. Do it again, and again.

Every six months, every six weeks, every six days, every six minutes. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. As necessary.

Gradually, you’ll begin to learn, know-in-your-knower, just what God thinks, and that you can think it too!

I believe this thinking is the ONE thing that we can be responsible for.

Here’s what the word says about it.   Ephesians 4:23 says to and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

In other words – Let the Spirit change your way of thinking.

Romans 12:2 says this; Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

We learned in session #1 of this series, that God is all-powerful.

Since that is the case, what reason would He have to lie to us, or lead us astray?  

If He says we can renew our minds, then by Him, it is possible.

In fact, He says this in Matthew 19:26 – But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I’m going to leave you with this today.

Please consider what you have in your baggage, and what you can do to lighten your load.

On our next visit, we’ll take a look at what I believe to be one of the top five things that weigh us down.

Feel free, to comment, like, and share this video/post with anyone who could use a soft place to land.

Until next time ….