Shame. Shame is a hard topic to talk about and often times it’s even harder to see how shame is shaping and affecting our lives. When I asked Siri what shame is, she replied, “Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Or, as a verb, “to cause someone to feel ashamed or inadequate by outdoing or surpassing them.” Let me summarize: Shame feels awful, but to shame someone else makes us feel better about ourselves. This summer I’ve been listening to Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly on Audible. She is a researcher of shame and wholehearted living. She insists that in order to live happy, meaningful lives we must become “shame resilient.”
For the last two years, I’ve been participating in a CBC women’s small group doing Life With God. (It’s one of the four types of small groups offered in women’s ministry.) Life With God is a study of relational theology where Scripture is studied to discover how the events and circumstances of people’s lives affected their relationship with God. It covers the lives of Adam and Eve, the patriarchs, Moses, David, John and Paul.
One of the most impactful truths I learned is that God’s grace doesn’t require me to know everything about myself all at once. Grace and shame have a hard time coexisting. Shame keeps us from drawing close to God and from self-awareness because, it’s painful to see ourselves as others do. But God, in his grace, only show us that which he desires to transform – one piece at a time. Godly sorrow and remorse are important tools in our spiritual growth, but God never uses shame! Only God can disclose sinful, disobedient parts of our lives with total and complete love.
God only transforms our real selves – not the image we would like everyone to believe about us, the image we advertise on social media. So we have to bring our real selves to God and in order to do that we must fiercely eliminate shame from our life with God.