"For the sake of the joy that lay before Him Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God."
I have heard or read this verse many, many times in my life, but today is the first time that the word "shame" jumped out at me. I’m in my 60’s and I’m finally understanding how much shame can affect our lives. We all suffer at different times along the way. I was sexually abused as a young girl and again as a teenager. But I didn’t realize until reading some really good books how much those events have affected me.
I have prayed so many times for God to heal me, and to make me new again, but I still feel sometimes that I’m not good enough and that I’m trying to earn my family’s love and God’s love even though I know intellectually that God’s love is unconditional and that my family loves me! I’m sure my perfectionist tendencies stem from these feelings.
The book I’m reading at present is called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. She teaches about "shame resilience" and gives steps to take to break the cycle of retreating in shame when something happens that sends us into our self-condemning thoughts. The other two books that have been very helpful are Not Marked by Mary Demuth and The Emotions God Gave You by Art & Laraine Bennett.
"Jesus despised the shame." He endured it and went on to conquer sin and death, opening the way for us to do the same. If you are struggling with shame in your life, there is hope! Jesus knows what we have gone through and He has felt the shame that we feel. We can learn to stop the negative thoughts and tame the shame. Get counseling if you need help but don’t let your past keep you from living life to the fullest today.
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Janice also leads women’s retreats and recently wrote her first book: God Speaks to Ordinary People – Like You and Me. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected].