Shame is the dark feeling in the pit of your stomach that says you're not nearly enough.
Shame is the weight that drags you to the bottom of the ocean.
Shame is darkness.
Shame is feeling guilty, even if you have no guilt to bear.
Shame is feeling dirty, filthy, unwanted, unneeded, and unnecessary.
Shame is a living death.
We may have earned our shame, or we may have done nothing wrong. Shame goes hand-in-hand with guilt, but sometimes shame appears even when you are innocent.
Shame constantly attacks, wearing down our defenses and our sense of worth a little more each day. Shame is incessant. Shame is dogged. Shame doesn't ever seem to let go, no matter how much you try to kick it off.
The hardest part of shame is living with it. Or is the hardest part of shame getting rid of it?
No one can simply tell you not to feel ashamed, any more than anyone can simply tell you what you're worth, what you mean. Years of shame won't be erased by even the best, well-wished words.
Can anybody outlive shame? Can anyone ever get rid of it? Or is it doomed to linger even in the shadows of our doubts? Even once the source of our shame is wiped away, can we really ever recover from living in shame? Or is shame something that dwells forever in the back of our mind?
Shame kills the soul. Because shame is a parasite. Shame doesn't make you stronger; it just saps your vitals until you're an empty shell.
I wonder how many people struggle with shame. Do we even realize it, or has it become such a "normal" part of our lives that we don't even recognize it?
Do you feel less than what you should be? Do you feel like you're not good enough?
Then we're struggling with shame together.
I believe shame can be overcome, but it requires something bigger than yourself. And it requires staring into the dark maw of shame to examine why it's there, how it got to be there, and what it might take of you to finally kill it for good. Something deeper needs to go to the source of the shame, take it, and heal it from the inside out.
I struggle with shame on a daily--almost minute by minute--basis. And sometimes I do wonder if I've lost my identity in the shame. Maybe I believe I am the shame.
I truly think that shame is too big of a beast for me to face without God. So often when I talk to him about it, I feel like he tries to peel my fingers away from it and let shame go. But is it really that easy? Is it really God telling me that I'm okay, or is it just my wishful thinking?
Being a Christian is hard.
Being a human is hard.
Another hard part about shame is that it's so difficult to talk about it. How could I possibly open up to a stranger, let alone someone who's close to me, and explain why I feel ashamed? How can I find the strength to admit that I screwed up with something big enough to cause a ripple of shame in my soul? The situation feels insurmountable. Shame requires confession, but confession requires courage that shame tries to steal away.
That's why I believe that ultimately, it requires something bigger than yourself. Something outside yourself. Someone. Because at least for me, I already know I don't have the courage to do it. I don't have the strength to get rid of it. I need a Hero to slay the Beast that has me in its clutches.
Do you struggle with shame, too? Just as with so many of the challenges you face, know that you're not alone.
"The truth is, I'll work day and night to keep the gears grinding in your mind,
To keep you from knowing you are worth more than gold,
Not some assembly-line rusted shell of a person that I try to remote control.
I never wanted you to believe that when you're down on your knees that someone is actually listening.
If you were undistracted for even a moment, I'll lose my hold, and you would notice that you have never been alone--
Never have you ever fought alone,
Never have you ever fought alone..."
- "Mechanical Planet" by VERIDIA
Photo by Tanner Van Dera. Originally posted on Unsplash.com.
Jakoub, Deena. Mechanical Planet. VERIDIA. Word Entertainment LLC., 2014. CD.