I am, though, an honors student in experiential learning on the subject. Unfortunately, if we live to see enough days, we all are.
Shame emerges like Shamezilla on the coastline of our lives looking for ways to pummel us from the inside out. For me, the best way to discuss how is by the KISS method.
Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.
I'm going to give us two simple, and all-the-while complex, ways shame comes beating at our door.
Here are the two:
1. My mistake
2. Life happens
If shame in your life didn't come from the first thing, it likely came from the other. Here is how I break these down.
Sometimes we just botch it. Yep, we just screw up. We may know we're making a mistake at the time. Other times, we are blindsided by the fact we let our anger, jealousy, or ambition go unbridled. We lash out with our fists or, perhaps worse, our tongues.
In short, we sin. For us God-lovin' types, that's the operative word.
Then the damage is done. We realize we let the demons inside make us feel like a monster.
And then, we decide not to feel like a monster. We decide, we are a monster.
I'm hideous and incapable of being loved because, after all, I have cornered the market on lashing out in anger, sleeping around, judging the fire out of you, lying to save my hide, cheating on my spouse, pulling images up on the computer screen, bullying that kid in the locker room, and being Texas sports fans. Sorry, I got carried away by the end there.
I screwed up so I'm screwed up.
Sometimes we are almost born into shame.
We enter this world in the midst of warring parents, married or not.
We discover at some point in our childhood we are the "have not's" and our classmates are "haves."
We were born too short, slow, big, uncoordinated to make the team.
We (guys) realized that our guy friends' voices went from soprano to Shaft-esque bass over the weekend while mine squeaked and cracked for 927,092 days. Or at least that's how long it felt.
We (girls) realized there are girls beginning to display their "womanhood" at school while we are still waiting on ours to develop.
We proudly bring home the B+ on our report cards only to be met by parents who tell us nothing less than an A will do in this house.
Our uncle, teacher, parent, sibling, or best friend's older sibling did something unfortunate and unspeakable to us in our innocence.
Our job is cut, the company downsized.
Life happens, things we had no control over.
And this monster grows inside who hurls insults that we are just. Not. Good. ENOUGH!
Over the next couple weeks I hope to explore these two ways shame emerges.
Until then, know that you're loved by a God bigger than those voices!
[As always, if you know others who are or need to (hint: that's all of us) revolt against shame in their lives, feel free to send this blog their way!]