I woke up this morning from a really strange dream. And lying in bed I had a profound sense of shamelessness. Not the “he has no shame” misbehaving kind. No, the remarkable freedom from expectations, disappointments, low self-esteem, need to hide feelings that I carry around most days. All of it was gone – AND IT WAS AMAZING!
There are a lot of definitions of shame. For me the best is the feeling of not being good or good enough. That at my core, I’m not loved, wanted, or desirable. This feeling of shame shrouds us from our hearts, our loved ones, and God. It weighs us down like an unwelcomed gravity blanket.
As I crept through the morning, the feelings of shame slowly started returning to work. But this time I watched them return. And one thing I noticed, they all came in on a lie. And that is when I realized: Shame lies.
As they showed up, I took note of the various lies. Most were about me, but some were about the world – how it works, others, and even God. I wrote a couple down and as I did I was amazed at how comfortable they were. It was as easy as writing my own name. No wonder shame has such a profound impact on me.
After each lie I scribbled down – I wrote the corresponding truth. It was one of the most painful things I’d ever written. The truth seemed foreign, unwelcomed, and cruel. That’s when it hit me – like really hit me. As much as I hate shame, I love the lies it tells me more.
I like the lie about how the world has done me wrong. Or the one that says I can fix everything. I enjoy believing that I can be my own hero. My lies keep me from being disappointed in others, thinking I’m in control, and that I deserve my bad habits (the very things destroying me).
Even the worst tyrant is a solution to some problem (that’s how they come to power). In the same way, every lie we believe is a solution to the pain of the world. To live shameless we have to become confronters of lies and embracers of the pain. And here is the beautiful part, the pain can’t destroy you – you’ve already lived through it.
I woke up this morning completely shame-free and what I learned is that shame exists because I fear pain more than I crave freedom.