The Bible is right. Somewhere… somehow… something went seriously wrong. We lost our way and fell short of what we were created to be.
None of us are perfect, yet… we long for perfection. When we miss the mark, it feels bad. For some it’s a fleeting twinge of pain that comes on occasion. For other’s it’s a stabbing pain that stalks them daily.
Shame is a sense of worthlessness, a sense of being defective.
Someone described it to me once as being “damaged goods”… like you are a dropped product in a store and so you get removed from the shelf and tossed in the back, waiting to be thrown out. You’ve lost your value. And because of that you have this overriding sense of not belonging, not fitting in.
Shame also involves the fear of exposure.
YOU know that you are defective but the game of life is to keep other people from knowing it. It’s bad enough to BE flawed, but it’s doubly bad to have the world gawking at your flaws, either shaking their head in derision or laughing at your futility.
Shame causes you to live in a fear of rejection.
If you are flawed and don’t fit in, then it’s only natural that when you are exposed that you will be rejected. Who wants to associate with a loser?
It’s no wonder that shames causes so much pain.
Inherent to shame are the lies we believe.
Where there are no lies there is no shame. It’s the lies of shame that cause us to leap from the idea of “damaged” to “worthless” or from “flawed”to “forgettable”. That’s why it’s so important to find a source outside of ourselves that defines our worth. If we return to the God that created us we’ll find that he’s not there to condemn us but give us the value that he always intended for us to have. That’s where healing begins.
Question: What causes you the pain of shame? Leave your comment below.
Someone stopped me the other day and said, “I bought your book and I’m getting a lot out of it in regard to parenting”. I had to smile because I get that a lot. Healing the Hurts of Your Past wasn’t written with parents in mind but so many of my examples refer to parenting that it’s a natural connection.
I suppose I could rework the book using the same information and just target parents. But in the mean time you should know that the book can help you in this department. In fact, it definitely helped me with my parenting.
Fifteen years ago when I was researching the topic of shame it dawned on me that I had shame issues and I was passing them on to my children. You’ve probably heard it said that “hurt people hurt”. Well, “shamed people shame” as well.
I sat my teenage kids down and explained what I had learned about myself. I defined shame. I told them what it looked like in our lives and apologized for my shaming ways. I warned them that I’d probably still do it some more…I was a work in progress…but I wanted them to know what it looked like so they would know when to discount what I might say or do.
I’ve come a long way over the years. I have a pretty good “shame detector” in my brain now that keeps me from shaming people or at least alerts me to when I do it so I can apologize appropriately.
Healing the Hurts of Your Past will help you see what it looks like to shame your children and how to reframe your parenting to be more positive in your approach.
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In attempting to describe unconditional love I often refer to the love of a parent. If you are a parent you’ll get this. When does a parent first love the child? When it’s born? When it becomes viable in the womb? When it was conceived?
Most parents tell me that they loved their child even before conception. They loved the child even when it was a hope or a dream in their mind.
I can tell you when you didn’t first love your child. It wasn’t when they performed well for you! Some parents might wait a lifetime for that! Think of the first year…lots of diapers and late night feedings. Not much performance to get excited about there. Or think as they grow…all of those household chores and lawnmowings that they never did or did well. Imagine a parent that withheld their love waiting for their child to reach a certain level of achievement.
Loved by God
If we, as humans, can offer unconditonal love for our children…how much more can God? The Bible tells us this…
Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Ephesians 1:4-6, The Message
The heart of understanding your inherent value in life lies in understanding that you are loved by God apart from what you do. Period. You are loved by God. Let that sink in and stop protesting by saying “but what about…”.
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Learn more about God’s love for us in Healing the Hurts of Your Past
In my book I make a brief reference to Theophostic Prayer Ministry (TPM). Put simply, it is one of many forms of prayer for inner healing of emotional wounds.
A little background as it relates to me. About twelve years ago I was doing a lot of counseling at church and getting pretty frustrated. It didn’t matter what I told people…it didn’t matter how powerful the truth was…people weren’t finding freedom. That just seemed wrong to me.
Theophostic Prayer Ministry leads to true freedom
Then a fellow pastor shared with me a video series on prayer for inner healing. It was about a new approach called Theophostic Prayer Ministry. The word “theophostic” simply means “God’s light”. It refers to God revealing the source of our emotional pain and then healing us. I watched the videos and I was struck by the simplicity of it. I’m over simplifying it here but it involves a prayer facilitator helping a person find the source of their emotional pain through prayer.
I was trained in this technique and worked with many clients. I then trained a few people in my church who built a ministry around this technique. We have seen hundreds of people set free from deep issues of depression, shame, anger, etc. as a result. The frustration that I had in my previous counseling experience evaporated as person after person found true freedom.
Sadly, TPM has taken some criticism from people who don’t understand the nature of it. However when you compare the few who have criticism to the tens of thousands of people using this prayer ministry in over 150 countries worldwide the criticism becomes minuscule. Also, TPM has been maligned, not so much for the process but the facilitator. As with any helping profession, there are both good and bad practitioners. But we don’t negate the entire profession just because of an occasional bad practitioner. So don’t let the criticism of TPM scare you away.
My book, Healing the Hurts of Your Past, is an excellent primer for Theophostic Prayer Ministry, that is, it doesn’t teach you how to do it but it helps you understand the role that lies play in our dysfunction and how we can find true freedom.
Question: What is your experience with Theophostic Prayer Ministry?
In my book Healing the Hurts of Your Past I explore how to overcome the pain of shame.
I teach through the content of my book at least six times a year at a local treatment center. I’m always amazed at the clarity that showing clips from The Lion King movie brings to the teaching. It’s a real eye opener to people. The Lion King is a movie that most people have seen but they’ve never seen the teachable moments. Let me lay out the basics.
Shame and the Lion King:
- The roots of Simba’s shame: the trauma he experienced seeing his father die.
- The lies of shame: “It’s my fault” and since he felt disqualified… “I’m not the king.”
- The fruit of believing these lies: Isolation. He ran away from his community.
- The solution: His father told him…”Remember who you are”, that is, the king.
Remember Who You Are
We live what we believe even if what we believe is wrong. How many of us have put a limit on our success and happiness because we don’t believe we deserve it? What if success and happiness wasn’t related to deserving it? What if success and happiness was a gift given by a loving God? If you were to believe THAT do you think things might change?
In the movie, Simba chose to believe he was the king and in remembering who he was he returned to take back the throne. The emotional high point of the story is when he climbs Pride Rock to claim his rightful role as king.
Do you see the contrast? When he believed the lies “It’s my fault” and “I’m not the king” he lived in isolation. When he chose to believe the truth that he was the king he BECAME the king. He fulfilled his destiny.
I wonder…what will it take to reclaim your rightful place in life? What lies are you believing that are keeping you from your God given destiny?
I’m doing some study on the Sabbath. God created the Sabbath to help us to stop and reflect…to enjoy all that God has given us and not continually striving for more.
It occurred to me that there is a connection between shame and not taking a Sabbath rest. Hurt/shamed people are often driven people. They seek to prove their worth, make up for past regrets, and show that they aren’t as hopeless as they feel.
Sabbath is God’s Offer to Cease Striving
In contrast to the driven life, God calls us to cease. To rest and hear his voice. Rather than chase the approval of the world he wants us to hear him speak about his unconditional love for us. You see, you aren’t approved for what you’ve done through your striving. You are approved for who you are…his child.
God speaks in the Bible and says “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Maybe you are afraid to cease. Maybe you are afraid to stop, rest and listen for fear of what you will hear. You are afraid you will hear a voice of judgment and condemnation. But if that’s what you hear, it’s not God. The voice you hear might be your own voice or the voice of your parents or other people telling you to do more, work harder, make something of yourself. But it’s not God.
Sabbath Overcomes Shame
Listen harder. Listen closer. Beneath all the busyness is a voice calling you to Himself, calling you to wholeness simply by finding your identity in Him. But if you want to hear that voice then stop and listen. That’s what Sabbath is about.
Shame can undermine Sabbath. Or Sabbath can overcome shame. Which will you choose?
Question: Are you able to stop and rest in God’s presence or are you driven to prove yourself to God and others? Leave your comment below.