Struggle in the Open
To overcome this, we have to fight shame.
Shame is such a powerful tool and the crazy thing is that when we feed it, it becomes stronger. When we tell ourselves that we shouldn't be having a hard time or that we should be over something by now, shame is there to yell at us "YOU ARE SO RIGHT, WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT YOU ARE!"
When we can't quite put our finger on what is wrong or we feel compelled to answer "How are you?" with "fine", shame is there to reinforce those behaviors.
Shame tells us that we are broken, helpless, a burden to others and that we need to buck up and handle our business better. And above all, be quiet about it.
Earlier this week I read a story about a sweet mom who ended her battle with depression by taking her own life. I can't help but blame shame. I can relate on some level because I have had those feelings of being so embarrassed at my struggle that I didn't know who to tell or at times how to articulate it...I can only imagine that those feelings, left uncared for, would lead to such a tragedy.
The only route to battle shame and come into freedom and peace is bravery.
Bravery to answer questions honestly. Bravery to ask a friend how they are really doing and being willing to push past the canned answers . Bravery to sit with yucky feelings and sort them out in a healthy way. Bravery to ask for help when we need it. Bravery to be transparent about when we are there and when we have been there. Bravery to ignore those who tell us to get over it. Bravery to honestly look at our feelings and assess them where they are and start our work from a true starting line.
Bravery WILL save lives.
Shame is a tool of the enemy. He does not want us to walk in the freedom that Jesus brought to our lives. The freedom we can all have whether we are truly "fine" or not. Freedom can be ours in the struggle as well as outside of it.
Psalm 31:24 says
"Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD."
Step out of shame and into the open, into your rightful place, brokenness and all.
And while you're here, take a peek at my Back to School with Clorox post!