Shame does not let you live your life out loud.
Shame is a harsh task-master isn’t it? John Bradshaw in his book Healing The Shame that Binds You says this about shame:
“What is the shame that binds you? How did it get set up in
your life? What happens to healthy shame in the process?
Toxic shame, the shame that binds you, is experienced as
the all-pervasive sense that I am flawed and defective as a
human being. Toxic shame is no longer an emotion that
signals our limits, it is a state of being, a core
identity. Toxic shame gives you a sense of worthlessness, a
sense of failing and falling short as a human being. Toxic
shame is a rupture of the self with the self.
It is like internal bleeding. Exposure to oneself lies at
the heart of toxic shame. A shame based person will guard
against exposing his inner self to others, but more
significantly, he will guard against exposing himself to
Toxic shame is so excruciating because it is the painful
exposure of the believed failure of self to the self.
[selves to selves too we believe] In toxic shame the self
becomes an object that can’t be trusted, one experiences
oneself [selves] as untrustworthy. Toxic shame is
experienced as inner torment, a sickness of the soul. If
I’m an object that can’t be trusted, then I’m not in me.
Toxic shame is paradoxical and self-generating. There is
shame about shame. People will readily admit guilt, hurt or
fear before they will admit shame. Toxic shame is the
feeling of being isolated and alone in a complete sense. A
shame-based person is haunted by a sense of absence and
Shame is a spiritual and generational stronghold that we all face as it was passed down to all of humanity from our first parents, Adam and Eve. Just like Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together to cover their physical nakedness, we sew emotional, spiritual and relational fig leaves together to cover our own shame and fear.
Shame isolates. Shame is a violating dictator demanding full attention and service from us. Shame is a liar and a thief. Shame enslaves.
Shame ensures that we live our lives frantically sewing fig leaves together to cover our shame but then rips the cover off to expose us at our most vulnerable moments. Shame is a capricious and abusive bully. Shame demands that we hide our true selves from ourselves, from others and God. It never works.
But what would it mean to live naked and unashamed? Over the next several days I am going to look at what shame does to us and as well as the very real freedom that Jesus has for us so that we can indeed live our lives naked and unashamed.
I pray that if you are reading this you will decide to go on this journey with me as I share my own bondage to shame as well as the hope and freedom Jesus has given me ; enabling me to live my life out loud, naked and unashamed.
He will do the same for you.