I have the privilege of being tested by my own words. The things I’m compelled to teach about are often the result of past experiences. Even so, God allows me to be tested in the same areas again.

I’m faced with these questions often.

Do I mean what I say? Am I living out what I say?


Sitting here in front of the computer, tapping out a bunch of thoughts, isn’t as easy as it may sound. In addition to the brainstorming, praying, writing, re-writing, deleting, self-editing, and second-guessing, there’s the whole resiliency mixed with authenticity factor.

Will I stand firm with my words and beliefs or will I let the opinions of others pluck my feet off solid ground?

Can I share what’s real and honest without caving into fear of people’s responses?

shame humility tangled soul

Teachers Get Tested Too

The content I write focuses on sometimes heart-heavy things. I share from a perspective of what God’s tested me in, how God’s refined and continuously refinies me, what I’ve learned, studied, experienced, observed, and what the Spirit reveals.

Please know this. I do not stand isolated on an island to say what ocean dwellers must do.

Rather, I’m right there, swimming in the deep with you. Looking for Jesus’ gaze so we can walk on water again, because he calls us forth and asks our faith to remain fixed and steadfast with him, above the waves.

There are days when my heart shakes with the realization, even as I type, that the very words I share are the ones I need to hear for myself. He’s stretching me. As a result, I question my ability to share words.

I wonder if I’m being prideful or helpful. Am I healed enough to share insight with others?

I step back in prayerful consideration as I sort through lies with the power to level a heart in heavy condemnation. Yet, I need the conviction of His truth at work in me, which is the foundation for transformation.

There’s a choice to make and it shakes me up. Which voice will I listen to? Shame or Humility? My inner-voice or the Savior’s? Condemnation or conviction?

Recorded words spoken over a lifetime cause me to question myself incessantly.

Is Shame Driving My Decision?

When I spoke as one of the living room session leaders for the Brave Women’s Conference my topic was “Brave to Take Care of Your Self.” This talk occurred in the midst of another hard leg of my healing journey.

I wondered, “Am I taking care of my self in healthy ways?” “Am I being selfish in doing so?” “Do my words match my life? And how will I know, because I’m so afraid of being selfish that self-care is hard to wrap my head around. Much less talk about.”

Somehow, two words got all mixed up and jumbled together.

Each one is tied to experiences, belief systems, and foggy filters. To see clearly what one means and the other does not, well, it’s taken a whole lot of heart-searching and I’m still wading in the water. Maybe right next to you?



They are so very different, yet they intertwine in ways that choke. They simply must come apart if we want to live well.

Getting started may involve looking at motivations. Consider if you’re prompted by feelings of shame or the embrace of humility.

Spend time with God, asking Him to reveal your heart.

Bravely ask what your fears are and what truth you need to walk in. Let your heart take courage as God reveals motivations that may not line up with His.

At this event, I was motivated partially by other people’s perceptions, which led to feelings of fear and shame.

I was also motivated to be used well by God, to share God-honoring help for women who are weary and over-worked. This motivation was not selfish in anyway. It was focused on serving well and needing God to show up and work through me. This pointed to humility in action.

The Position of Humility

Humility is not arrogant or proud. It recognizes the low position we have in relation to the almighty wonder of our Creator God. A humble heart rightly recognizes the righteousness of God and the great need of man, for God, in all the things.

One who operates in humility also recognizes the wonder of who we are as God’s creation and rightly owns this position. It’s a higher position than we allow ourselves to live in when shame betrays our identity.

While we are far less than God, we are also greatly valued by God. Priceless. Loved. Redeemed. Worth more than we could fully appreciate.

Humility builds a sense of knowing our low position is honored by God. The last shall be first. Humility recognizes need while owning what we are given. Because of God.

A humble person thinks rightly of themselves. Not more. Not less.

They receive what God gives and give out of what’s been given. They can offer much to the world because God has given them much.

The position of humility is full of life, not weight.

The Position of Shame

Shame feels disgrace for feeling low. Shame painfully asserts that we are not who we think we ought to be. That we could never be who God designed us to be.

Sometimes, this can be a good thing. When we are not acting as we ought, nor living in ways which honor God, shame reminds us we want to be something we are not yet. Uncovering shame and receiving the covering of Christ is a process.

Often, shame destroys our sense of self by regarding a low position as one of dishonor. In this place, we tend to get stuck. We try to prove we’re more than we are, or hang our heads in defeat because we believe we’re less than God believes we are.

Shame drives us to disconnection from self, God, and others. It keeps us ineffective from being the person we’re created to be because it keeps us hidden from the beautiful and loving presence of God.

The position of shame is full of heaviness that leads to death in the soul. It keeps us from experiencing His life at work within us.


Shame Brings Destruction, Humility Brings Healing.

While shame brings destruction to our souls, humility brings healing. We rest in who we really are in light of God being who He is.

Great freedom arises as we actively live in the identity he gives.

Admittedly, I have a lot of work to do in these areas. Growing in honest humility. And in rejecting destructive forms of shame and how it makes me hide.

How to Untangle Shame from Humility

How do shame and humility get untangled in our souls so we can live more whole?

We can begin by choosing humility. As we choose the Holy Spirit, we choose to respond to the Spirit’s prompting in our hearts about ourselves, others, and God.

When we feel shame and guilt creep in, we identify what’s happening. Is it driving us closer to God, or away? To healthier relationships, even when it means confessing sin and owning our impact on others, or towards isolation?   {see video, How to Turn Shame and Guilt Into Healing}

Choose to let God define the truth of what you need to face. Receive His mercy, grace, love, and Hope with you.

Also, we are to think with sobriety. Not under the influence. We are not to think too highly but also not too lowly. A sober mind thinks clearly. Rightly.

Consider Romans 12: 3.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith God has given you.

Our true position is identified by God. We are humbled to know how much we have need of Him.

Think honestly about who you are as God’s truth speaks loudest. The standard bearer of truth in this matter is God and his Word.

Even shame can turn into the thing which draws us towards the heart of God, if we allow humility to lead it there. As we accept our position, we know we need more. Step by step, we journey to living with greater humility every time we say, like Jesus,

“Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” ~ Luke 22:42



This post originally appeared in 2016 for the series: 31 Choices We Can Make to Live Well. It has been updated.