Last week we covered one hindrance to happiness in the Happy Monday Blog. This week I want to talk to you about a word that has haunted me on and off for years and could be something that has likely hounded your tracks in some way as well if I had to guess.
It was 1993 when my husband and I married and we went to marriage counseling within the first year of marriage with a former youth pastor of mine who had become a family counselor. We had gone to him for premarriage counseling and wanted to go back and discuss some minor, normal issues we were having as a new couple. We are huge proponents of marriage counseling. We think of it the same as going to get oil changes or tune ups on your car BEFORE you have a huge problem. Why wait til you are bankrupt to go to a financial advisor? An ounce of prevention... right? Anyway, the counselor looked at me after listening to us talk a while and asked me a question that I'm still gaining insight about. He asked, "Does the word 'shame' mean anything to you?" to which I replied, "No, not really." I didn't have a hard time at all forgiving myself a couple years back for totally backsliding in college and doing most of the things college kids do when they aren't walking with God. I came back to God and had no problems accepting God's amazing grace and never skipped a beat. I didn't carry that baggage into marriage or into my life really at all. I was forgiven and not ashamed at all. None of it has ever tripped me up spiritually and I've always been very thankful for that. So I really didn't think what this counselor had to say about shame was going to hit a nerve in any way. Boy was I wrong! I learned then that it was something that had taken root in my life and I didn't struggle with shame about big things so much but it was about the everyday things. I learned some things then and would navigate life for many years thinking I had shame beaten.
Like life events often do, life happened and shame stuck it's ugly head up again for me years later and it was in the form of regret. I found myself living in regret about pretty much everything. Nothing I did was good enough in my own eyes and before I knew it I was living life out of this place of needing my self worth to be measured by major accomplishments and when I came up short according to my measuring stick there was shame....that was most all the time.
Why? Where did this come from? What would I do to get ahold of this? What about you? Can you relate to anything about this so far? If not, hold on, you might in a moment.
Fast forward all the way to last weekend when I was visiting WOL in Jackson,MS and Pastor Joel Sims was killin it with the sermon! I felt like he was preaching my life message about the connection between love and happiness and then he made a statement that is still rocking my world. He asked,"What if we could connect our self worth to our courage to keep trying instead of to achievement and applause?" Then he said this. "Shame is the stuff we hide and shame is the stuff that hides us." And up on the screen as a hindrance of happiness was this word - SHAME. I could hardly believe my eyes!!! I thought,"Oh my goodness.....that word again?!?!?! Why have I still not beaten this?" In that moment I cried out to God in my heart of hearts asking Him to help me overcome this stupid word once and for all. I asked Him,"What is the deal? It's been over twenty years!!!" There came the regret about regret! Dear Lord!!!! No more. I literally got tickled about it at that point. I was feeling shame about still dealing with shame. Sorta funny! But not.
Here's the point of this blog----
If you struggle with your self worth being hinged on your accomplishments or approval or applause, shame has some part to play in it. There is this sense of shame many of us face when we don't feel like we are enough or we don't measure up. Some of this may come from unrealistic expectations we have put on ourselves or others have put on us. It could be from believing any number of lies about our self worth. I challenge you to find out where this root is for you and renounce it from the origin as a lie. I literally cannot even comprehend being insecure in the way a lot of girls are. But this is a sly form of insecurity and it's connected to this shame about thinking basically no matter how great things are that you do or accomplish, not necessarily compared to anyone, but that's a temptation for most too, it's just never enough. The Bible says that godly contentment is great gain. I'm learning how contentment is connected to shame or the lack thereof actually. There is also that same connection with both Love and Happiness. I've already written a lot about all of this in my new book I'm working on. But even as I wrote I kept knowing there was a missing link. This blog is that missing link.
No more shame I declare over my life and yours! Connect your self worth to your courage to keep trying and not your achievements or applause or approval of others. More about being who you are and less about doing what must be approved of.
I will from this point on only "do" because of "who I am". I will never again "do" to "try to be......."whatever I think I need to be. I am who I am. He is who He is and you are who you are. Embrace that person and be your own kind of beautiful with no shame. It's a lighter way to live!