The author is Remy Diederich of Healing the Hurts of Your Past; a guide to overcoming the pain of shame. In this blog he says, “Here’s a key to understanding the pain of shame…Shame has little to do with the bad things that have happened to you or the bad things that you have done. Shame has everything to do with the lies you believe about yourself.”
I reread that passage several times. I thought about it for a long time. I started to ask myself what are the lies I have believed about myself. I believed I was stupid, worthless, fat, and ugly; you get the idea. I believed God only loved people with the right kind of faith. I obviously didn’t have the right kind. No matter how hard I tried to be good enough, I failed. I believed I was flawed. I believed I was unlovable. The lies influenced the way I behaved. My behavior reinforced the lies. It was truly a vicious cycle.
I have been able to identify the lies and find the truth over the years. I have to keep myself in check or I might begin to believe them again. In recovery circles we say, “We are only as sick as our secrets.” Step Five (in Twelve Step Groups) says, “Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” I am very careful about the “human beings” I trust with my secrets. However, I now believe that God can handle it. I understand something called forgiveness and grace. I have learned to be honest with myself. Being honest means not believing the lies.
I recently started attending church after a very, very long absence. Shame was one of the things that kept me away. I am learning to let go of my fear and my shame. I often talk about the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I don’t often talk about my other book. The one we refer to in recovery circles as “The BIG Big Book”- The Bible. I have a harder time understanding everything in the Bible. I have been reading Romans 7 and 8 the past week. I am trying to read it without my old self getting in the way.
This will be a first for my writing, but I want to share the last verses of Chapter 8.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” Psalm 44:22
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.