Until recently, I had no awareness of operating in a shame-based bubble. Like many others, I had been shamed about my body by a classmate during my first year in middle school, an awkward time. However there was a sense of shame that dwelled in my family of origin that came to the surface as I traveled and learned the differences between being a Russian versus being a Ukrainian. My Ukrainian mother had always spoken openly about the hatred she experienced from a high school teacher in Germany, but I did not understand how the power struggles between Russia and the Ukraine played out in my parents marriage and rippled into my identity as a woman.
This blog will be part of a series on shame – both objective (imposed by others onto our sense of identity) and subjective (internal messages). Many of us have heard the sociologist Brene’ Brown’s definition of shame; a sense that somehow we are not enough and there is something basically wrong with us. Shame may have begun with something we have done or was done against us, but it filters down into the core of our being. Some of the emotions that are associated with shame are embarrassment, awkwardness, paranoia, self-doubt, powerlessness, insecurity, unworthiness, feeling stupid or different. Even writing these words leaves a sense of wrongness.
I would like to offer hope even as we begin to look at the problem. Only you can be you, made by God, a unique individual in His image. Your journey through this process will involve layers of events that have brought you to this place. You may be asking questions – some of them universal, such as “Why did this happen to me?” and “Where were you God?” You can make the choices towards bitterness or restoration just like Job. Ultimately it is an opportunity to encounter the Lord in His true love and sovereignty starting today with the question, “Where is that anger, depression, addiction, perfectionism or desire to withdraw coming from?”
Thank you for joining me. Until next time, peace and grace to you.