If you ever met shame, she likes to keep to herself. But then she only loves to keep company with perfectionists, and loathes conversation; or should we say words themselves. She hates being told on. She lives in dark corners, yet she also hovers in your familiar spaces. This is the story of shame told by Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly. A qualitative researcher, or as she jokingly describes herself, a researcher story teller. She convinced me that there is power in shameful stories. Can I try convince you?
God believes in the power of carrying one another’s shame.
I bet when I described shame, a small unsettling discomfort nudged at your heart strings. Perhaps, you kept reading because secretly you wish the shame imprisoned in your soul could be freed. Or maybe it raised an irritation like an unwelcome, unexpected guest knocking on a door.
Either way, you are restless.
Shame holds power in our lives.
But, shame loses its power when you unleash its story.
It’s the call of God to:
“Carry each other’s burdens”
I believe this includes our shame. Shame is always a burden. God is calling us to carry each other’s shame stories. When we feel shame we are desperate for a place that it can land, a connection with someone who might dare to listen.
The power of a shameful story lies in allowing someone else the privilege of hearing that story. Notice, Galatians doesn’t say heal each other’s burdens or shame. But God is telling us that there is power in carrying each other’s shame stories. The power of your shameful story is allowing it to be told.
Embrace believes in power of shameful stories
In research, Motherhood ranks high in the ‘shame’ category alongside sex, religion, trauma, addiction, money and work. It almost seems a complete misfit that motherhood is lobbed in these categories. It’s a shame in and of itself.
Look at how far we have come, or should I say, fallen. Yet, one NGO owns this shame and believes in the power of shameful stories.
“We give every new mother a voice, a community and a network of possibilities” (Embrace)
The world has tagged shame to Motherhood in whatever corner we find ourselves. And Embraces looks to storytelling as one way to slowly shed the shame. They believe there is value in carrying each other’s shame stories.
Check out their Tuesday Check- In campaign. One mom, checking in once a week taking the step to envelop herself in another mom’s story, whatever that may be.
Daring to walk into the darkness, we will discover the light
“Only when we explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of light”
We think we are safe to keep shame trapped in the dungeons of our souls. But shutting shame up leaves us in a perilous place.
“Shame is tough to talk about. But the conversation isn’t nearly as dangerous as what we’re creating with our silence.”
We saw that God wants our silence broken as he calls us to carry each other’s stories. But, he also says:
“Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you”
Notice here, that we are called to carry each other’s shame in Galatians, but here God is calling you to cast your shame on him. I can hear your story, but only God can strip you of its rule in your life. Jesus said:
I am the light
Brene Brown says only when daring to walk into the darkness, will we discover the light. Jesus says, I am the light. Dare to walk to him.
So we know:
The power of shame is at its greatest when it is silent.
We know the power of sharing shameful stories, breaks its hold. Yes, you may be inviting others into your darkness, but you will find light when you do.
But most especially, when you cast your shame to Jesus, set it on him, hand it over to him, only he has the power to squash it once for all. When you dare to invite Jesus into your darkness, you will find the great light.