Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
19 “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil. 20 All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light. John 3:19-20, CEB
I started a new story a few days ago. Get caught up before continuing.
Living in shame is disorienting. When we live with constant shame we don’t have a firm sense of our own identity. We live with the sense that there is something wrong with us, but we may not know exactly what. Not only do we believe that something is wrong, we believe that it is nearly impossible to fix. As we’ve already said, this leads to anxiety and/or depression. It leads to too much action or not enough. We rely on other people to tell us who we are, though we may not believe them.
When the man in this story came to talk to me about his belief in God, it became clear that he was living in shame. He wanted me to tell him how wrong he was. Why? Because this would confirm that his shame message was true. His shame was telling him that he was wrong for not believing in God. He needed that confirmed because then he would have an identity.
The problem is, shame’s identity never really suits us because it is a lie. I refused to confirm his suspicions because I wanted him to have the opportunity to resist shame’s message. I wasn’t going to participate in his shame.
When we live in shame, ironically, we want people to tell us that our shame is true. That’s how dangerous it is. We start to believe it and we want other people to see the version of ourselves that matches our shame.
Do you have someone in your life that helps you see that you’re more than your shame?