Shame. That one word is powerful, heavy and loaded. I think of the shame that I struggle with and there is a part of me that knows I don’t deserve to put myself in that place, but then there is another part that gets it and understands it. So, as these different thoughts of shame run through my mind I want to rationalize. Shame is going to look different for everyone. For me this is what it looks like:
It was my fault
I deserved what happened
I am not pure
This shouldn’t still be a problem
Those are probably the broad general topics that most of those thoughts fall into. Now, when thinking about all of this, I know what shame feels like, and out of curiosity wanted to look to see how the dictionary defines. I was a little surprised, by the definitions:
Shame (n) – a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
Each of the examples in the dictionary were examples of how when a person makes a choice to do something such as a “a regrettable action” or “to reprimand someone for a wrong doing”
Shame (v) (of a person, action, or situation) make (someone) feel ashamed, bring shame to.
The examples to humiliate, mortify, disgrace, degrade. But even in this definition notice how it is focused on the person doing the shaming. So, this explains where the logical side and emotional side of me split and why they cannot align.
On the feelings side, I feel degrade, humiliated, shamed. Those feelings can linger and play on repeat in my head. Telling me all the reasons I messed up, all the reasons I am not good enough. Reminding me of poor choices made in dealing with everything leading to a continuous cycle that is loaded with shame and guilt. So how do I change this? How do I combat this? The truth. And that is what this is, sharing what I know to be the truth.
Logically, by definition, the shame isn’t mine to carry. See, I didn’t act, I did not make a conscious choice, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I didn’t set out doing an action that would bring myself any shame. There is nothing that I should regret. The shame is his. He is the one who was making a conscious decision, the one who took control, and is responsible for the outcome. I can share what happened and have learned that I have support, I have people willing to come alongside and remind me of the truth. Can he do that? Perhaps if the only people in his life are doing the same things and they think it’s okay and can brag. But if he was to share with the majority of people he would be met with people saying that it was not right, that he needs to change. It is his shame.
Feelings seem to influence my choices, my perspective, and how the day goes. In the moments when my feelings don’t align I repeat what I know is true, if I can’t do that I go to people who speak just that, the truth. The truth that I have to rest on is that I am many things because my identity is in Christ. My identity doesn’t change with my feelings, feelings don’t get to dictate who I am. My savior does. I am loved, cherished and blameless in my Creator’s eyes. I am innocent and pure in my Father’s eyes. I am chosen and a co-heir to the thrown of the One True King.