The Story of Shame

From the beginning of time men and women have been given subtle pushes from society and our world of what roles we should play and what obligations we have. When we don’t measure up in any way we feel shame.

Shame:

Makes us feel less than; it diminishes the individual’s value

It causes us to hide our true selves

It creates a belief that there is something wrong with the individual 

We have been dealing with the feelings of insufficiency and incompleteness since before sin even entered the world. It was Eve’s feelings of inadequacy that Satan played off of that led to the fall of man. As a coach, I have found that digging deep into this topic and definition can free each and every one of us to live to our fullest potentials!

The word in·ad·e·qua·cy is a noun. A noun can identify or name a particular someone. The dictionary says the word inadequacy is: The state or quality of being inadequate; the lack of the quantity or quality required; insufficient for a purpose.

When we are feeling this way we act out of fear, compulsion, and desire “to make sufficient”. It creates a cycle of further shame and feelings of being insufficient in just who you are as a person.

Genesis 3:6

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom*, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

*emphasis mine

Lets look at this phrase, “Desirable for gaining”.

When we need to gain something it means we are lacking. The garden of Eden was perfect. There was no lack. So in order for Satan to trip Eve or even us up he must first make us believe that we are lacking. That we do not have all that we require. Something is missing and, at its core, it is God’s fault. How often in your heart of hearts when something goes wrong or something is drastically missing, do you blame God, The Maker of Perfection? Adam did this very thing by blaming the serpent “whom you created”. Shame not only makes us hide, but also makes us deny and blame the wrongful parties.

In doing this research I found out that women are quicker to feel humiliated than men, and adolescents feel shame more intensely than adults do. As a result, women and adolescents are more susceptible to the negative effects of shame, such as low self-esteem and depression. However according to https://www.verywellmind.com, “Shame also affects men differently from women. It’s said that men with shame-based low self-esteem tend to “act out” through anger and violent behavior toward others, while women “act in” by turning their feelings inward and hating themselves.”

People often speak of shame and guilt as if they were one and the same. The are not! Guilt occurs when we transgress moral, ethical or religious norms and criticize ourselves for it. Shame on the other hand is when we see ourselves  as negative (“I did something terrible!”). When we feel guilt, we view our action as wrong. Guilt can be productive in truly changing someone’s heart and actions. Where as, shame only make us feel deficient and often leads us down a spiraling slope, of hiding, secrecy, self-loathing and low self esteem. Shame is a feeling that your whole self is wrong. 

So lets us start here by re-assigning this lie to The Truth!

You are not deficient, or lacking. You were made good! God said so.

1 Timothy 4:4

For every creature of God is good, …

Genesis 1:31

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! 

James 1:17

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

The opposite of inadequacy, is not adequacy itself but also the word: enough. Eve believed the garden, and herself, was not enough. Not enough for her, and that she , as is, was not not enough for even God, Himself. Do you believe you are enough?

Discontentment breeds a desire to seek out side of God’s greatness for something more. What is greater than the perfection of what God himself has made?

You are Enough! You are Adequate! You are acceptable, capable, competent, fair, satisfactory, sufficient and loved!

With Christ and grace you are beautiful, saved, and whole! Stand in that! In the covering of the blood of Jesus, there is no shame.

God has cast our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). We keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). When we stand in this and on this truth, shame and regret are part of what is behind us.

“The key to breaking the power of pride-fueled shame is the superior power of humility-fueled faith in the work of Christ and the promises of Christ. Shame pronounces us guilty and deficient. Jesus pronounces us guiltless and promises that his grace will be sufficient for us in all our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). Christ is all (Colossians 3:11). As we trust Jesus as our righteousness (Philippians 3:9) and our provider of everything we need (Philippians 4:19), shame will lose its power over us.” – John Bloom

May you live in the knowledge of the competency of God, that your weaknesses are made perfect in Christ Jesus, and in the Truth that you were made good!

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