Tag Archive | Shame

Raw and Real #12 – Freedom

Today, I enjoy much freedom;

Freedom from anxiety, freedom from shame, freedom from guilt, freedom from bullies.

I enjoy that freedom because I made a quality choice to do the really hard inner work.

Importantly I must add – allowing God/Jesus/Holy Spirit to guide me along what has often been a pretty bumpy path.

I am fully confident, that you can follow much the same path to healing.

What is needed is a longing to be better, and a tenacity to stick with it.

Here is a really important point that must be made!

I profess freedom.

I own it.

But I must understand, and remember over and over again that this does not mean that EVERYTHING is perfect.

Actually, far from it.

Life on this planet is predictably unpredictable.

Everyone has trials.

Everyone has issues; physical, mental, and spiritual.

The deal is; how do we handle it?

I am free because I choose to, as the “littles” say “Let it go”.

I give it to God, and leave it there.

Let me be very clear, sometimes I leave it there once a day.

Other times it is every hour.

Scripture tells us in Romans 12, that we are a “Living sacrifice”.

Well, famous author and teacher Chuck Swindoll states that the problem with a “Living sacrifice”, is that they keep getting up and getting off of the alter.

I have to offer myself to God every moment, of every day.

There is FREEDOM in knowing that I have done the work, and that God reminds me all the time, that “He’s got this.”

Being certain of that, removes the weight from my shoulders.

I can walk knowing that whatever is going on, He is by my side, and that He won’t leave.

I have a handful of what I call LIFE VERSES, one for most areas of my life.

Here is one of my favorites;

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 (ESV)

Note, that it does not say that weapons will not be formed, it says they will not prosper.

Keeping this thought in mind, helps to keep the weight off of my shoulders.

It keeps my eyes looking ahead to just how God will show me what to do next.

Carrying that weight?

It is my choice.

Dropping it away from me is also my choice.

I need to recognize that some days are going to be more difficult than others, but the bad ones do pass.

What frame of mind will I keep until that happens?

And be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13: 5B (ESV) 

If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:24-26 (ESV)

There may be one more installment for this Raw and Real series, or there may be a summary.

I’m not sure yet.

But either way, won’t you join me?

Until next time …

Raw and Real #2 – Quiet (PJs)

My new series Raw and Real is just beginning.

My hope is that as you see some of my struggles, you will see yourself somewhere, and find help and strength in these words.

To begin at the beginning, you can click →here.

In #1, you read that I wore shame “like a coat”.

It is important to know the difference between guilt and shame.

Here is the definition given by →Psychology Today.

Guilt: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

Shame: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.”

Did you inflict the pain?

Or did someone else’s actions inflict the pain?

Even though I was very young, and naive, just a child, somewhere on the inside, I knew something was not as it should be.

Not having the knowledge or capacity to figure out what these feelings meant;

they were buried deep in the “That’s just the way it is” category.

Somehow, I didn’t even wonder if others had the same things going on in their lives.

It was assumed that they did.

That category grew larger and larger over the years of my life.

Finally after many years of repetition of the same types of “trauma and drama”, I did begin to realize that something was wrong;

not just wrong, but VERY wrong.

I began to realize that the events in my life seemed to follow a cycle.

It was of course, not the same people that were there at the beginning, but the victimization was the same;

the same in that it was victimization, but quite different in size and scope.

Advantages taken mentally and physically were more inclined to take away any ability I may have had to remove myself from the fray.

However another difference was that I was able to see the high likelihood, that not everyone I knew bore the same issues.

After countless relationships with varying amounts of “trauma and drama”, I miraculously was introduced to the man who would become my husband.

We had a small family that although not always completely high functioning, worked well, and we learned how to live together, and to power through our troubles, and lead a pretty normal and well balanced life. 

(Our “kind of crazy” has been alive and well for 43 years!)

In 2001, there was of course what we Americans refer to as 9/11.

There was so much trauma; so much to absorb, so much to process.

And then, as if that were not enough, on 9/17 that my mom was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

Treatment and care began immediately.

Her time was short, but intense.

She passed away in my living room, with her family all present, just days before Thanksgiving.

The reason this is important to the story of this post has to do with the idea of process.

While I was caring for her, I felt strong.

I felt like I could do what needed to be done.

Even after her passing, I still felt strong.

I still felt like I could do what needed to be done.

I was not looking ahead to, or even aware of, what was about to hit me.

I refer to what comes next as the →Cave Days.

There had been no time to process 9/11, much less 9/17.

I was not prepared for the loss of energy, the loss of strength, the loss of enjoying anything I had enjoyed before.

Between the mental pain, the physical pain that was radiating through my body, and the brain fog;

it took several doctors, and several “might be” diagnosis and treatments to find the problem.

During that time, I spent hours, days, weeks, and years at home, in my PJs, not moving or thinking;

barely breathing.   

It took me nearly four years to even LOOK at the items in my house that belonged to my mom.

As it says in the →Cave Days post – caves can be places of burial, or places to rest and regain strength.

It was a choice that had to be made.  

But how?

I hope you’ll come back on Friday for Friday Favorites.

Then again on Monday, so we can explore “But how?” question together.

Until then …

Processing Memories

Of all the things that can be a part of ones memories,

Rape has to be near the top of the list of atrocities.

The enemy of our soul, who hates us with vicious malaise,

uses this and more to destroy any possibility of reaching

the heights that God has for us.

This story made me realize that even though the processing

has been done, it my never be finished.

Like shards of glasses embedded deep inside,

the remnants work their way to the surface.

http://goodwomenproject.com/rape/when-no-one-believes-you

This is all so doom and gloom, right?

Let me tell you about the light.

The Year of the Lord’s Favor  (NIV1984)

61: 1-3, 7.  The Spirit  of the Sovereign Lord  is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.   He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown  of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit  a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy  will be theirs.

Jesus truly is the only answer to the pain.

He will never leave you or forsake you.  (Joshua 1:5)

Then you will know the truth, and the truth (He) will set you free.  (John 8:32)

He knows the truth.

He IS the Truth.

You are not alone.

*

The Importance of Story Part One

It’s so important to tell stories. 

It’s in the telling of the stories that we find out who we are.

It’s in the telling of the story that we find out who we can be.

Out of all the great conversations in the Lord of the Rings, one stands out strongly in my mind. 

It is the kind of conversation one has with their nearest friend and confident. 

This conversation happens to be about story.

Let me set the scene for you.

Frodo is well into the process of taking the One ring to destroy it in the fires of Mordor.

Frodo knows the truth of what must be done, while he also knows that he is exhausted.

Frodo would much rather quit, go back home to the Shire, and have everything be the same was it was.

Sam’s words of story encourage him on to finish his task.

Here is that conversation;

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

Your own story may be similar.

Of course you don’t have a powerful ring to destroy in the fires of Mordor.  That’s pure fantasy.

What you may have, probably have, is a story where insecurities and uncertainties surround you. 

Perhaps in your childhood, you never really “fit in”, so you felt the sting of rejection.  Maybe you still do.

Perhaps people made promises that they never kept, so you felt suspicion when anyone promised you anything.  Maybe even now you can’t seem to trust anyone.

Perhaps you didn’t receive the love and care that you so desperately needed.  Your heart continues in the pain of abandonment.

Perhaps people in your past told you things about yourself.  That you were stupid, or lazy, or foolish, or any number of cruel things, and you believed them.  Your perception of yourself is still that way.

Perhaps the people in your life, who were supposed to protect you, didn’t.  Maybe they were the ones who hurt you the most.  The stab of betrayal may still be alive and well in your heart.

If any of these story lines belong to you, please let me say I am so sorry.

Your story should have been better.  Not a nightmarish fantasy.  Your story should have given you a better sense of yourself.  Your true self.  Created by a God who loves you.  Created for a specific purpose.

Remember Sam’s words~

“And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.”

To be sure, things cannot go back to the way they were, back before the trouble.  Time has gone on too for that.  That would be fantasy.

But here’s what I know for sure.

The Hardest Topic

This may be the most difficult topic I’ve ever had to face.
It’s the topic I’ve hidden from.
It’s the topic I’ve hidden from God.
It’s the topic I’ve not wanted to discuss.
It’s the topic that I would guess you don’t want to ponder either.
It’s the topic with symptoms I can’t even always recognize.
 
The topic - is Shame


One definition from the Encarta Dictionary: English (North America) says that shame 
is a painful emotion resulting from awareness of having done something dishonorable, 
unworthy, degrading, etc.
Shame is a deep sense of humiliation and embarrassment.
  Believing one’s name may fall into disrepute, or be discredited, only serves to 
bring on more shame.
  This shame that comes could be real, or it could be imagined.
It really does not matter. The effects are the same.
Shame may even turn into something pathological, which is defined 
 as “extreme or unreasonable”.
 
 Shame is the antonym of innocence.  
It changes who you were meant to be.  
Know this about Shame;
It is an attack from the enemy of your soul!
To keep you away from God’s design for you!
You didn’t do anything wrong!
Someone else did!
It was not your fault!
 
Shame is different from guilt, in that to be guilty one has to have done an action on their 
own of their own volition.  
Guilt generally comes from a sense of responsibility for knowingly doing wrong. 
Often there is remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or Imagined.

Guilt is synonymous with criminality.

The wrong-doer is the perpetrator!

They were in control of the situation!

There was nothing you could do!

Someone else is the criminal here!

 
 
                       You can cry out to God for Justice and Restoration! 



  Citing the article, “SHAME STEPS OUT OF HIDING AND INTO SHARPER FOCUS” By Daniel Goleman

The New York Times, September 15, 1987, Psychologists have determined the following;

·Shame is emerging, in the view of some, as a “master emotion” that influences all the others.

Its development is being traced back through childhood and its role in a wide range of human

experience, from spurring the greatest of accomplishments to the bitterest of marital fights,

is newly appreciated.  

·“Shame is a master emotion, regulating the expression of other feelings,” said Thomas Scheff,

a sociologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara,

·“Whenever shame enters the picture, we inhibit the free expression of emotion, with the

exception of anger,” said Dr. Scheff, who studies the sociology of emotions.

·Unlike other emotions, which tend to pass with time or with a catharsis like weeping, “shame

is the emotion most difficult to admit and to discharge,” Dr. Scheff said.

·Further, shame is the most private of emotions. “Shame may be one of the only emotions for

 which no facial expression has evolved,” said Dr. Paul Ekman a psychologist at the University of

California at San Francisco who is an expert on facial expression. “Of course, in shame you do

not want to signal your state. Turning away or hiding the face in some way are the only objective

signs of shame.”

You get the idea.
Shame hides.  
It is simply too painful to admit.  
It stays hidden inside and continues to decay our souls.
If shame is something you suffer from, 
I would like to give you a couple of suggestions.
Simply a place to begin, a starting point;   
*Ask God to help you, by His Spirit, to search your heart.
*Tell Him all about what you are hiding inside.
*Is there just one person you can confide in? 
 -Maybe not the entire story, but just a sliver?
 -Exposing this shame will absolutely RUIN its power over you.
*Maybe you just can’t tell anyone, however, can you write it down?
 -Then give the offense to God?
 -Getting this sense of shame out of your head will help to make 
 shame leave your heart.

Oh boy!

           I know what I’m suggesting is extremely difficult, 
However, I also know that God has so much for in store for you.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV1984)  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, 
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
You can trust Him with your heart.
The whole story or just a sliver.
                Wherever you are able to start.
                                Whatever you can give Him.
                                                                Justice for you, restoration for your soul.

Be courageous!  I know you can do this, 
             Your peace of mind depends on it.