If we are not willing to claim and acknowledge our
transgressions, we perpetuate a cycle of anxiety, shame, and
striving to have a glittering image even when we may be in
reality falling apart. In the early days as mom to my daughters,
my internal self contained an unsustainable mix. While I felt a
great deal of guilt, fear, and shame, it was all tangled up with a
righteous, “holier than thou” attitude. There were lessons I
needed to learn about the multiple faces of shame.
Shame is a destructive and powerful five-letter word
that resides deep within many a heart. “A fact or circumstance
bringing disgrace or regret,” says dictionary.com. Shame is
often disguised under layer upon layer of pain and coping
mechanisms, yet it is an invisible fire that burns and destroys.
As it silently sets up camp in our souls, it then robs our joy and
rightful place as beloved children of God. Its greatest ally is
secrecy. Shame is most potently defeated by vulnerably sharing
our stories of scandal and humiliation with fellow life
journeyers whom we know to be trustworthy.
I know a thing or two about this silent thief. Our
acquaintance began when as a child I assimilated the dominant
message I heard in church. It was a message of right vs. wrong,
good vs. bad, with a heavy dose of instruction on how to
behave in a way to avoid the flames of hell. It seared my tender
heart and contributed to making me a person full of fear and
unacquainted with true grace. I lived in a state of dis-grace.