“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
The last few years I have been on a journey of self-discovery. This year I feel has been one of the most impactful years of my life. You know the words to the beloved song, “Was blind but now I see,” this is how I feel.
I have been on a journey to find wholeness, actually I believe we are all searching for it, and I believe, “The Way” is the One that leads us to becoming WHOLE. Love is shed abroad in our hearts and the dark places become illuminated.
The climax of my journey started 2 years ago when my husband said “You should watch this TED Talk by Dr. Brene’ Brown called “The Power of Vulnerability” it is life changing.” I do not know about you, but those words do not come out of my husbands month very often, so I was very curious. The 1st time I watched it I cried and I do not think I will ever be the same. Watch NOW
I have now read 3 of Dr. Brene` Brown’s books “The Gifts of Imperfection”, “Daring Greatly” and “Rising Strong.” I would highly recommend all 3.
This is what I have learned, the “shame” experience is universal, no one wants to be shamed or to feel shame. Recognizing and understanding our habits and what we “DO” when we are feeling ashamed is vitally important for growth. If our eyes are not opened to how we deal with shame, we will do what every human being since Adam has done we will hide, we will cover, we will be run, even from the ONE. “Shame needs 3 things to grow out of control in our lives, secrecy, silence and judgment” Brene’ Brown. You may be thinking I do not have issues with shame, I would have said the same thing. But my eyes have been opened, big time.
Shame is the voice that says “You are NOT Enough!” Shame says “You are bad!” As opposed to what guilt would say, which is “I did something bad.” Let me give you an everyday example how it plays out in me . I coordinate a program for middle school girls called Mutual Gold, I have a wonderful, competent staff. One day I show up to work and I am not super organized that day and it is kind of a big day for us we have a lot going on. I sensed some minor frustration or irritation from my staff. Do you know the 1st place my mind goes?? “They think I am a bad leader, they think they could run this program better than me, I let them down…blah, blah, blah.” Do you know what everyone of those statements is saying? “I am not enough, I am not enough, I am not enough.” Yet this is NOT how my staff feels, they do believe in me, they appreciate my leadership and this one isolated incident does NOT define ALL of who I am and ALL of my leadership to the program. But this is Shame and I believe we all deal with these moments. The journey to becoming whole involves becoming “Shame Resilient.” Where in the face of that moment with my staff I could say to myself “I should have been more organized today, I will do better tomorrow.” And maybe even simply say to my staff “I am sorry I am not more organized today.” (No excuses or explaniation). This statement says “I am enough. I am perfectly flawed like every other human being. I can improve with humility. ”
This journey towards “shame resilience” is the most rewarding and courageous journey you will ever face. Why courageous, you might ask? Because it means you have to be Naked and Unashamed. How many of us desire to be naked in front of strangers, co-workers, friends, or family? Nakedness is our most vulnerable state. In the biblical story of Adam and Eve, they started out naked in the garden of Eden. Have you ever considered why? What does this nakedness represent? Let’s consider the story…
Adam and Eve are in the garden, they are naked and have everything they need. This could maybe be compared to human development. We start out as small children where we will dance, sing and all with very little self-awareness or self-concern. We spin with pure joy and delight. As we grow older we start to realize we are naked, someone might even say “You have chicken legs” or “your ears are so big.” And slowly we start to become very aware of our self and all our flaws. We become self-conscious. In the bible story Adam and Eve make a mistake and immediately their response was to hide, blame and defend.
How do you respond when you make a mistake? Is your first instinct to hide? To withdraw to pull away, to quit? “Oh I am not good enough for this, what was I thinking? I don’t know what I am doing.” Or do you blame? “Well John was rude to me first and I was just responding back in the same tone.” Do you defend? “I would have got it done, but I managing way more than anyone else in my group. I am completely overwhelmed and my boss doesn’t even care.”
What the Adam and Eve story shows me is that human nature, is human nature, is human nature! From the beginning of time we have been wrestling with how to live at peace with ourselves and the world around us. What is so fascinating, is when God comes to Adam and Eve, the question that is posed is, “Who told you, you where naked?” Or in other words…Who told you to hide? Who told you to be self-conscious? Who told you, that you are not enough? Who told you to defend yourself? Who told you to be ashamed of yourself?
This question is still ringing out. Our creator looks down on us and says, “My child, there is NO condemnation in me. My perfect love cast out all fear. In me I call you enough, in me I call you worthy, in me I call you adored. Show thyself. Do not run, do not hide. Be all of who you are, with your whole heart! Be Naked and Unashamed.”
Learning to live courageously or with all your heart can be a scary vulnerable place. It means boudries, hard conversations, speaking up when you would prefer to be silent, it means not being afraid to mess up or make mistakes and when you do, you can say to yourself, “I am enough and I will try again.”