Sometimes I wake up around 2-3am from a dream and find myself with some kind of insight into my life or someones life around me. This morning was no different. I woke up at 2am with something heavy on my heart. I thought about just going back to sleep and journaling and blogging about it later but I knew I needed to get up and write this out. So here I am.
This morning I want to talk about shame.
Every person responds to shame differently. Some run and hide. Some run to things, substances, porn. When I felt shame I would stuff my face with food. I would try and match what I was hearing in my head with my reality. Shame is a cunning and deceiving little thought that tries to seep into the bloodstream that is our thought life.
Now as an almost 30 year old wife and soon to be mother I refuse to give into shame. Shame does not define me, nor will it ever. I also refuse to allow others shame to define me. This is a powerful place to live. Being able to let the ammunition of lies that may try and tell me otherwise to just bounce off and not affect me. It’s taken years to get to this place but I can honestly say I stand strong in my identity.
10 years ago I allowed shame to infiltrate my life for one to many years. I allowed consuming thoughts of not being enough physically to haunt and drive my every move. I gave into those thoughts by embracing an eating disorder and running from guy to guy trying to find worth somewhere in the midst of shame. Yet these behaviors led to more and more shame. Shame for bad choices, shame for making myself eat more than I wanted. I became obsessed with covering my shame, and yet at the same time giving into it when others weren’t looking.
Shame teaches us we are the problem. It can become a cycle of self loathing. Shame can drown us in feelings of worthlessness, it’s a vicious cycle of calling us out on whatever we have just chosen to do that is shame driven and then drives us to do it again and again because we don’t know any better. It really is a cycle.
It’s a death trap. Physically, mentally, spiritually.
I actually came to giving my life to christ over 5 years ago because I could not handle the shame, the self-hatred that I had been giving myself to. I knew there had to be more.
“Come unto me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” Matthew 11:28-29
was the invitation that I could not resist. When I choose to lay down those thoughts of shame and trade them in for the truth about me I found myself re-energized to live life. I found that I had allowed myself to believe lies about myself that were never true.
After that night I got saved 5+ years ago I never once starved myself and there was an inner knowing within me that I was meant for better, I was meant for more. Relationally I would go through a season of testing that truth and I wish I could say I never once gave into the lies shame feed me but it was actually some of the hardest times. The silver lining in that season of life was that when I finally stepped back and looked at the relationships I had been choosing I realized I had been settling for way less than Gods best for me. It was the wakeup call I needed at that time. (I will also say I wish I never went through what I went through in that season of life. However I did and because of it I know what it feels like to experience things I never thought I would have)
I also want to clarify when I say a season of testing that truth I do not mean that I felt like God was testing me. I honestly don’t know how much I believe in God testing us. What I do believe in is lies, shame, and fears hating when they lose. They will try to get back what was once theirs.
Thing is, I was made for so much more than what I had allowed shame to tell me. When I would listen to the lies that shame would feed me there was always something deep within me that knew this wasn’t really what life was about. It was as though I had blinders that kept me focused only on what was directly was in front of me. So if something better was in front of me I wouldn’t have seen it. I was so focused on the lies I was being fed, and feeding them. When I came out of hiding so to speak from my shameful habits for me it was binge eating in my room and then running from guy to guy trying to soothe the pain. The lies I believed led me to believe I wasn’t enough and I should just eat all the food in the world. This left me feeling out of control and like crap so I would go looking for men willing to take me so that I felt some sort of control, some sort of worth. Then the shame would start all over again as I looked at the situations I put myself in with these men.
I feel like for us women shame can come in so many forms, it is usually tied to feeling like enough. Physically, as a mom or wife or girlfriend, and sexually. For men it is usually sexually in the form of porn.
If this is you, I just want to take a moment and say you are worth so much more than whatever shame is telling you. Shame is a liar. I’ve walked this path and I can tell you there is something so much better for you out there. Choosing to live outside of shame, opening up and allowing people to love you for you is better than you can imagine. You have to step out from the shadows though, step out from your hiding place and let go.