What is your story?
We all have one. You know, the story that contains the good, the bad, the ugly of our journey that has led us to today. The story that pressed in on us, that chipped away at us, that left us a little more bruised and a little less brave to step into our future.
Somehow we didn’t ask for this story. We didn’t ask for the pain of rejection, the bitter war-wounds that etched themselves deep…so deep we can trace the edges of our scars and still feel a twinge of heartache rise from our belly and press down hard on our heart.
How do you tell your story?
For most of us, me included, our story is riddled with shadows and cobwebs, dusty, hopeless corners that when stepped into, trigger a mountain of shame. Soul shame.
I don’t like my shame story. It held me prisoner for far too long. It led me to the darkest battlefields of self-hatred and locked me in its cycle of fear, of longing, of desperation to find my enough-ness.
The truth is, I never felt enough. Never felt good-enough. Never felt strong-enough. Surely never felt capable-enough, brave-enough, or worthy-enough.
Shame never yields the fruit of worth we long for. Shame always steals from us our “enough-ness.” It saps hope dry.
Though God’s quiet voice whispered His great love towards me, it was easier to hear the voice from the enemy that groaned my judgment and condemnation, easier to believe my lack, to claim my scarcity.
Yet shame doesn’t have to have the final word for any of us.
Begin to own your story, the whole story
I believe there is a profound difference between guilt and shame. While guilt is defined as, a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined, shame is described as, the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.
Guilt tends to focus on a defective behavior, shame focuses on a defective person.
Leading shame researcher, Brene Brown, defines shame as, “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”
Don’t edit out the parts and pieces that reveal your pain. Don’t leave blank pages, hallow pages. When everything in you wants to run from your past, stop. Healing never comes when we’re running away from anything.
Claim it all. Speak it all. All. That means every moment, every measure, every single encounter that has tried to control you and trap you in its web of shame.
We can live with the pain of brokenness… what can slay us is the shame of brokenness. ~ Ann Voskamp
We don’t have to live trapped in the shame of our brokenness. God’s love is big enough to hold it all. Powerful enough to heal it all. We can only experience healing and wholeness when we can welcome home all that has created us, molded us, crushed us, and bruised us so that we can be healed.
Invite God Into Your Story
Shame tells us to shy away from God.
Shame keeps us from crying out to God for help, for healing.
Shame tells us to run and hide when we fall.
Shame tells us God doesn’t think we deserve good things.
Shame keeps us from believing that God could do a miracle for us.
When we invite Him into the most tender, aching wounds that feel as dead as a tomb on a hillside outside Jerusalem, He sweeps by in the still of night and in an instant, breathes new life, new healing, new hope for what could be and is coming to be in our own resurrection story.
While so much of our story feels irrefutable and irreversible, God shows up and redeems the most pitiful, most pain-filled past. Invite Him in. Let Him hold you while you heal.
Psalms 147:3 (NIV) tells us, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Rewrite Your Story With Compassion
Shame and compassion cannot coexist.
Our wounds are like frightened children just trying to find their way, desperate to survive for one more day. In all the hurt and tearful places, instead of hiding them or shaming them, speak love over them. Be gracious to the weaker, fragile parts of your soul. Do not judge them. Be tender with them as they heal, as they grow.
Compassion given always comes back to nurture us and heal us.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown
Compassion tells us that God is the safest place we could be.
Compassion keeps us running towards God for help, for healing.
Compassion tells us that God will pick us up when we fall.
Compassion tells us God desires a life of abundance and peace for His children.
Compassion keeps us hoping and believing that God wants to do a miracle for us.
We are all writing the story of our healing. Of our becoming. The bravest souls who rewrite their story discover in the end that it was not their shame that defined them, but their courage to heal and to grow and to become all God created them to be.
And as His presence greets you with the first breath of each new morning, ask yourself…
Today, what will be my story?
Lisa Murray is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Jesus girl, and a recovering perfectionist. In her clinical practice she routinely guides individuals, couples, and families through seasons of brokenness and disconnection so they can experience the abundant life God has designed for them.
In addition to her book,‘Peace For A Lifetime: Embracing a Life of Peace Through Emotional Abundance,’ Lisa writes weekly at Lisa Murray Online, and regularly contributes to both the American Association of Christian Counselors website, and the International Christian Coaching Association website. Her articles have been featured at iBelieve.com, Crosswalk.com, (in)courage.me, Purposeful Faith, Arabah Joy, and Life Letter Cafe.
Her heart is to encourage and empower each of us —whether in our hearts, our marriages, or our faith —to cultivate healing and wholeness that will awaken a heart of peace. She and her husband live in Franklin, TN where she directs the Professional Counseling Ministry at her home church, Grace Chapel Leipers Fork.The Book – Peace For A Lifetime