Tag Archive | Shame

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.