There are often times I think people should have some sense of shame. Have you ever seen pictures from that website, “People of Walmart”? People, save some that skin for someone special…as in not me and my family. That’s just a little rant and also why I am willing to pay a little extra and shop at Target. (snobby, huh? This is probably going to be a super offensive blog…if you are sensitive you should stop reading now.)
I’ve hesitate to write this blog for a while because I wanted to have a chat with my dad. He reads my blogs and often comments. Hi, Dad. I hope that I don’t embarrass you. (I had a short chat with my parents the other day and I forgot to tell them something important…I will save that for a later post).
At the last Kairos event we attended, they had a session on “shame”. One of the speakers said something interesting. He said that conviction is good and guilt is okay. We should feel some guilt over some things but shame is always bad. Shame is bad because it attaches to our identity and tries (and often does) to define us. The only identity we should have is who God says we are.
So maybe those Walmart shoppers could just have a little guilt over those atrocious fashion choices.
During the session on guilt I thought, “This doesn’t really apply to me.” I’ve gone through some things. Made some bad choices. Made some good choices. I’ve hurt. I’ve healed. I don’t feel shamed…I have shared my story with many other people to help them heal. Then I realized…I have have been physically healed and I have not shared that testimony publicly. I have been healed in my soul and I haven’t written about it in my blog or in a book format. I have shared privately in ministry situations but I have kept it private. Why? The Holy Spirit began to reveal that I was carrying some shame. You see, the reason I have not written about these miracles is because I have been ashamed for my dad to read about them.
My parents are wonderful people; godly people. My dad has been a police officer, a firefighter, a deacon and and an elder. He serves in the prison ministry at his church among other things. He knows what goes on in the world. He is half German…the German people do not stick their heads in the sand…they stoically accept the ugly truth. I never in my life saw my German grandmother get “fired up” about anything (I must get my “fired up” side from the Czech side…although my friend James tells me I am ” very in touch” with my inner “black woman” so maybe that’s it…hey…he is a black man, he is allowed to say that if he wants. It’s not racist if he says it. The Hubs says it’s my “inner Mexican”….he is Hispanic so he can say that. Everyone agrees that I do get “fired up”. I’m digressing). I should not think that my foolishness and things that have gone on in my life would shock my dad.
During that session, I wrote a note to myself to talk to my dad. It only took me 6 weeks to do it. I was very “fired up” about talking to him at first but that fire ebbed a little as I played out in my head how the conversation would go. It wasn’t his reaction I was gauging it was the the “starter words”. You know those first few words. I hate the phrase, “We need to talk…” I run away when and hide when people say that (mostly because it usually means I offended them in some way and now I have to endure a confrontation and apologize…it has happened. By the way…to all my African-American friends and my Hispanic friends…I’m sorry about that previous comment. Please don’t confront me.) The more I thought about it the harder it got. Then I talked to one of my sisters and told her about something that had happened. I thought I had talked to her about it years ago…and she was shocked. (She’s a little dramatic…get’s it from my mom’s side…the Scottish people I believe….really, I am just trying to include everyone in my remarks tonight…again, please don’t confront me.) This made me realize that I may not have been as transparent as I had thought.
When I did finally talk to my folks, it was as they were leaving my house late one night after a riotous round of Mexican Train (I promise I am not racist). We stood out on the front porch (so much for that conversation in a public venue so no one could act crazy…seriously, they would never respond that way.) I think I started something like this, “Hey I’ve been wanting to tell you something…” And the words flowed out. I’m rarely at a loss for words.
Dad was quiet. Mom wanted to know why I hadn’t told her.
The thing about shame is when you turn the light on the shame gets turned off. Shame is only “on” in the darkness. Once things are brought to light the power shame held is loosened.
I didn’t tell them EVERYTHING. Don’t do that to anyone. DO NOT go dump everything on them at once. (My mom is dying to talk to me now because she hates not knowing. I’m sorry. I really shouldn’t torture my momma like this. She will be over this weekend…we will talk more). Start somewhere. Here’s the thing, you can’t change your past. It happened. It’s history. It’s not who you are. It never wasn’t who you are…it was just your identity crisis.
I often go back to a Graham Cooke quote. “Revenge on the enemy is getting delivered and healed and then helping someone else get delivered and healed of the same thing.”
How can you get your revenge if you are hiding? I hid some things so well that most people in my family didn’t know, even my sister who I share (I thought) everything with. Being transparent requires us to flip on the light and turn off the shame.
We weren’t created for shame. Hebrews 12 (beginning of the chapter) says that Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame. As I was writing this I realized that Jesus carried all of our shame to the cross with Him. If He took to the cross then why are we still carrying it around? My final thought…
My friend, Kimberly is currently working on a writing project about shame. Check out her blog here http://dailygraced.blogspot.com.